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Rockets win Philly-Rush opener

By Staff
ON THE HARDWOOD Kemper County's James Moore, left, and Gary Griffin scramble for the ball against Neshoba Central's Tavares Walker. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jim Luke/The Meridian Star
Dec. 28, 2001
PHILADELPHIA Basketball coaches love Christmas holiday tournaments because they feel that it helps to keep their team from losing its shooting touch before the stretch run in January and February. A lack of offense was not on Neshoba Central's agenda Thursday afternoon as the Rockets defeated the Kemper County Wildcats 72-55 here in the opening round of the Philly-Rush Medical Holiday Classic.
The Wildcats were not without their offense in the game, especially during the stretch run of the second quarter as they whittled away at a 17-point Neshoba Central lead. A six-point and seven-point burst pulled the Wildcats to within two points at 34-32 before the Rockets stopped the action by freezing the ball the last minute of the first half.
In the second half, the Rockets increased their level of play on defense and built their offense off the defensive play. They scored the first 10 points of the second half and never really gave the Wildcats an opportunity to get back into the ball game.
The Wildcats were playing without one of their normal starters. Coach Charles Jackson would have probably loved to have him in the game, but is a firm believer in discipline.
He was pleased with the way his team played in the game and the effort that they gave.
The Wildcats, 11-3, were led in the game by Ronterrian Dale with 15 points and Marques Mays with 13 points. They will face Newton County in a losers bracket game at 1 p.m. today.
Tawon Walker led the Rockets with 23 points in the game, followed closely by Desmond Jones with 20 points. Tavares Walker added 11 points.
The Rockets, 11-4, will face Louisville in a 3:30 winners bracket game today.