By REID TUCKER and PATRICK CASEY
Paxton goes all-out with homecoming week festivities and the four basketball games played homecoming night were no exception as the JV and Varsity Bobcats and Lady Cats blasted through their opponents from Poplar Springs.
All four of Paxton’s high school hoops squads swept the visiting Atomics by large margins. Though the JV boys and girls claimed impressive wins at 51-15 and 37-7, respectively, the real collisions of the night came during explosive-back-to-back varsity games that saw home teams win by more than 35 points in either case. The varsity boys (5-0) claimed a 65-29 victory while the Lady Cats (3-2) all but walked away with the 53-15 win.
Chad Zessin had the dual honor of being named 2011 Homecoming King while also putting up 21 points for the high score of the night among all players on the court. Homecoming Queen Alyssa Dupree and her teammate Meagan Newborn, who scored 13 points apiece, were both two points short of being the highest-scoring female player but Rebecca Ferreira took the crown in that regard by posting 14 points for the Lady Cats. Poplar Springs’ (2-2) highest scoring male player was Josh Croxta, with 10 points, and the top-scoring member of the Lady Atomics (5-2-1) squad was Brandy Brooks, with six.
Paxton’s boys started off strong and stayed that way, posting a 23-6 deficit at the end of the first quarter, a mark that got extended to 42-20 at the half. The gulf at halftime was principally due to the efforts of Zessin, who scored 17 of his 21 points in the first two periods. He was backed up by Mason McCormick, Marcus Bradley and Austin Carnely, who scored at least five points, each with a 3-pointer to his credit.
However, Poplar Springs’ Croxta was not to be trifled with during the second quarter, as he posted eight points to put the Atomics in double digits for the first time. Everything seemed to start clicking for Poplar Springs with a little more than two minutes to go in the half as the Atomics began to make some solid layups despite Paxton’s pressure. Meanwhile, the Bobcats struggled to put shots in from the floor, which enabled the Atomics to add seven points in the last 35 seconds of the half.
The final two quarters were a blur, as the Bobcats outpointed the Atomics 19-7 in the third and then inexplicably scored just four points to Poplar Springs’ two in the final quarter. Dustin Geoghagan was a force from behind the arch, as he nailed a trio of 3s to complete his 12 points on the evening while Zessin and Bradley added their support in the lane, scoring four points apiece beneath the goal. Only Carnley and Ryan Gilbert scoring from the field for Paxton in the fourth quarter, but Poplar Springs was only successful from the free-throw line, going five-for-six at the charity stripe.
On the girls’ end, the Lady Cats were just as dominant as their male counterparts, outpointing the Atomics by large margins each quarter but the fourth, in which Paxton outscored them just 5-4. Lead by Ferreira, Dupree and Newborn, the Lady Cats had a 33-8 advantage at the half thanks to the close-in and far-off work of the aforementioned trio….
Read the full story in the December 8, 2011 edition of the Herald Breeze.