HC boys bow out

Published 12:30 pm Monday, February 27, 2012

ROCKY MOUNT – Hertford County High School dug an early hole.

They were able to get back a good portion of it, but never could recover completely as the Bears dropped an 80-66 decision to Rocky Mount High School. The loss came in the sectional finals of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs.

Despite the loss, the Bears got 31 from sophomore Jquwan Ruffin to go with an even dozen from Shabazz Atkins. Rocky Mount was led by Terrell Hilliard’s 21 points and 19 from Donte Battle. Lavon Brutus checked in with 16 points for the Gryphons.

The home team got out to an early lead thanks to a Brutus bucket, but Ruffin answered on the other end. Rocky Mount then got seven straight with hoops from Brutus and Hilliard going along with a three-pointer from Tobias Hilliard, giving the Gryphons a 9-2 lead.

Atkins responded with a three-pointer and a hoop to close the gap to two (9-7) before an exchange of hoops left it 11-9.

Unfortunately for Hertford County, Rocky Mount rolled off 10 unanswered thanks to five points from Terrell Hilliard, a three-pointer from Tevin Taylor and a bucket by Mason Hines. The result was a 21-9 lead for the home team.

Dwight Vaughan finally stopped the onslaught with a pair of free throws as the quarter closed, leaving HCHS trailing by 10.

Rocky Mount took control again as the second quarter opened. K.J. Peoples completed a three-point play to start a 9-0 spurt for the Gryphons. Terrell Hilliard had consecutive hoops and Battle added a hoop to make it 30-11.

The Bears didn’t back down, however, as Ruffin hit back-to-back three-pointers to close the gap to 13 (30-17).

Rocky Mount came right back, getting back-to-back scores from Brutus and a hoop from Terrell Hilliard to push ahead 36-17.

Despite a few runs by the Bears, the Gryphons were able to hold that same 19-point lead (46-27) at the intermission.

The third quarter saw the Bears go on a 7-0 run and close the gap to 14 (52-38), but they didn’t get any closer and the home team was able to push it up to 63-47 by the end of the quarter.

Hertford County came out firing in the fourth quarter, however, as Atkins hit four free throws and Ruffin and Brian Beale scored a hoop each to close the gap to 63-55 with 6:01 to play in the game.

The home team, however, responded with a 13-3 run that all but sealed the game, earning themselves a 76-58 lead.

Ruffin hit a pair of shots in a row and was followed by a Willie Bass field goal to close to within 76-64, but time ran out on hopes of a comeback.

The loss left the Bears with a 21-5 overall mark for the season.