RIDGELAND – Neshoba Central has been around since the early 1960s.
And it has never hosted a boys basketball playoff game.
Largely thanks to Jaquan Dotson, that will change after the Rockets held off Germantown 50-45 on Tuesday in the opening round of the Region 3-5A tournament at Ridgeland.
“To finally to get to host a home playoff game is huge,” Neshoba Central coach Jerry Byrd said. “This is big for our program and our community.
“We have talked about that with our kids for five years. This is significant and we feel great about it.”
Neshoba Central’s Bobby Anderson goes up for a dunk against Germantown in a first-round MHSAA Class 5A playoff game on Tuesday, February 17, 2015, at Ridgeland High School.
Neshoba Central (18-10) will face Ridgeland on Friday for the tournament championship at 7:30 p.m., while Germantown will face Canton on Thursday in the consolation game and the right to make it to the Class 5A playoffs.
“I felt like we just kept competing, but we kept letting them hang around and that really concerns me,” Byrd said. “We have been doing that all year – letting teams hang around and make poor decisions. If we want to be a next level, you got to take care of the ball and take advantage of opportunities.”
Dotson led the Rockets with a game-high 13 points.
T.J. Ben added 10 points and C.J. Ruffin chipped in nine for the Rockets.
“I tell Jaquon all the time that when he decides to come ready to play, he is fun to watch,” Byrd said. “He played hard, but all of our guys played hard tonight and (I) could not be more proud of them.”
Jonathan Thompson led Germantown with 11 points. Brennon Johnson added nine points for the Mavericks (12-13), who tied the game at 38 with 4:56 left in the fourth quarter on a Bryson Thompson 3-pointer.
“We just could not get over the hump after we fought hard all game to tie the game,” Germantown coach Spencer Gatlin said. “They beat us on the 50-50 balls and rebounded well. That was the difference.”