BY RYAN COBB Sports writer
ON THE MOVE — RFA’s Justin Henry carries the ball up the court alongside teammate Lloyd Parkmond, 23, as Camden defenders Colby Stratton, 4, and Robert DeWolfe give chase during Tuesday’s Tri-Valley League contest at Strough Middle School. Henry scored 12 points and contributed with four rebounds, six assists and four steals, and Parkmond knocked in 20 points during Rome’s 68-40 victory. (Sentinel photo by Stefan Matwijec)
After being away from their home court for the past month with seven games on the road, the Rome Free Academy boys basketball team was glad to be back at Strough Middle School.
The Black Knights were indeed happy to return to their floor on the Stan "Buddy" Evans court where they held a 7-1 record entering the contest, especially after enduring a 3-4 mark on their road trip.
The Rome squad felt as if they never left when they returned on Tuesday night and came away with a crushing 68-40 triumph over Camden in a Tri-Valley League contest.
Senior Lloyd Parkmond again lit up the court for RFA by sailing in a game-high of 20 points while picking up three steals and knocking in two three-point baskets.
"We did all right, and we’re glad to be back from the road trip because it was a long seven games," said Parkmond, who scored 20 or more points for the fifth time this season. "I feel good about getting 20 points but as long as we win at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me."
RFA coach Nick Medicis feels Parkmond is certainly the one who has the magic touch right now for the squad.
"It’s been his night the last couple of games, and it’s nothing we’ve done different," said Medicis. "The kids are finding Lloyd and he’s feeling the hot hand. We’ve always said we don’t know who’s going to be the standout for each game and lately Lloyd’s been doing a great job putting the ball in the basket."
Senior Aaron Tennant also added 16 points with three treys and four steals, as he and Parkmond helped the Black Knights grab a sizeable lead over Camden and never looked back.
The duo combined for 23 of Rome’s 37 first half points to get a 19-point halftime advantage on the Blue Devils, before Parkmond broke out with 10 points in the third period to help close the deal with a 28-point lead at the end of the quarter.
"I think our performance showed itself," said Tennant. "Scoring 16 points is not too bad. I just did what I had to do. If I had an open shot, I’d take it. If it goes in, it goes in."
Senior Justin Henry also added 12 points, four rebounds, six assists and four steals, while Elijah Johnson grabbed five rebounds, Spencer Kahler scored eight points and made six rebounds, and Angus Evans tallied four rebounds.
Medicis said that coming back to Strough is a good start in getting things rolling again as the Black Knights increased their record to 10-5 overall and 8-2 in league action. "I think it’s nice to be home that’s for sure," he said. "The kids get really excited to see everybody from the fans, the community and the student body. It’s nice to be home, but I think we played a decent game. Lots of things I think we can improve on, but we did lots of good things."
The Blue Devils were stellar on the free throw line throughout the whole contest, shooting a near perfect 13-for-14.
Ryan McCarthy was the best from the charity stripe, sailing in 7-of-8, and also led the team in scoring with 17 points, while Karl Kirch added 12 points and went 6-for-6 on free throws. Camden remains winless in the TVL at 0-7 and their record drops to 1-10 overall.
Medicis added that the key to the Black Knights’ win was the turnovers, however they were not running to quite their liking in transition.
"We turned them over quite a bit, we got beat out in transition a ton and got pounded on the boards, just in spirts, so if we can clean those areas up I think we’ll be in good shape," he said. "This team is going to rely on defense to win games. For the most part, we did a pretty good job, but we got to get out of those little spirts where we get comfortable and give up the easy baskets and get beat on the boards a little bit."
The Black Knights have three more games left on their schedule and will hit the road once more for another TVL game on Friday in Holland Patent beginning at 7 p.m. In the two teams’ last meeting, RFA came out with a 68-66 win following a game-winning field goal by Parkmond at the buzzer. The Golden Knights are 6-6 overall and 3-4 in TVL action.