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Gryphons get pair of victories
ROCKY MOUNT -- Rocky Mount officials stopped selling tickets for their varsity contests with Northern Nash last Friday night just minutes after the girls game started.

This is just the thing NEW 6 Conference athletic directors wanted when the close-proximated league was formed.

That was action at the front gate. On the floor, it was hot and heavy, too.

Rocky Mount’s girls saw a close contest with the Lady Knights turn into a runaway as the Lady Gryphons popped Northern 62-48 in the league opener for both squads.

Rocky Mount, led by a hot start by guard Lakia Bynum, led 32-23 at the half. Bynum scored 10 of her career-high 16 points in the first period.

But Northern (7-7, 0-1)) didn’t go away. Thanks to a 3-pointer and a steal and layup by senior Nikki Battle (team-high 19 points), the Lady Knights took a 38-37 lead with 3:24 left in the third.

Rocky Mount (11-1, 1-0) countered with a 13-0 run that put it ahead 50-38 with 6:16 left in the game. Just a minute later, RMHS laid a 10-0 spurt on NN to end any threat of a comeback.

Junior forward Dyonna Battle, who had scored 23 points the night before in a win over Southeast Raleigh, did the same to the Lady Knights -- 12 of those points coming in the fourth quarter. Arkeneshia Melton scored 11 for the RMHS cause.

Perhaps it was a good thing sophomore Tashawn Mabry sat out Rocky Mount’s non-conference game Thursday with Southeast Raleigh with a slight groin pull.

He looked raring to go last Friday in the boys conference opener with Northern Nash.

Mabry scored the Gryphons’ first nine points en route to a 20-point outing and that 20 points was the difference in the Gryphons’ 78-58 victory over the Knights. RMHS topped Southeast Raleigh 68-65 the night before.

Several Gryphons shared in the wealth for Rocky Mount (9-3, 1-0). Junior forward Montrell Battle also popped in 20, but the surprise of the night came in the performance of senior forward Charles Penny.

Penny scored career highs in points (18) and rebounds (10) in helping RMHS get its league-opening triumph.

T.J. Walker and Matt Cooper paced Northern (7-7, 0-1) with 11 points each.

NCHS: Southern Nash’s boys performance in their league debut at Nash Central Friday was less than stellar. The Firebirds could buy baskets at times and never got on the track, so the Bulldogs had an easy time registering a 64-25 victory over Southern.

NCHS led 17-5 after the opening eight minutes and 33-12 at the half. As it turned out, Nash Central (10-3, 1-0) held Southern (4-9, 0-1) to less than 10 points in every quarter of the contest.

Trey Sumler led the Bulldogs’ very-balanced attack with 11 points. Michael Speight picked up nine. Sterling Leonard’s seven points paced the Firebirds.

Southern’s Alyse Hall had the kind of night players dream of. The junior scored 25 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to guide the Ladybirds to a 49-45 win over Nash Central. SN’s Valesha Bunn’s three-point play in the final minute helped give the Ladybirds (9-4, 1-0) the win.

NCHS was led by an all-around effort by Jasmine Sessoms (13 points, five rebounds, five assists, seven steals).

In the other conference matchups at SouthWest Edgecombe Friday, Wilson Fike’s girls pulled off a 48-37 upset of the Lady Cougars.

Last year’s Player of the Year Jeremy Atkinson scored seven of his 22 points in overtime as Wilson Fike’s boys survived in a tough 72-67 contest.

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