The junior Division I-caliber forward was having his way with the Purnell Swett boys basketball team.
Thompson finished with a game- and season-high 32 points to spearhead Hoke’s 86-66 rout of Swett Friday night in Pembroke. The Bucks (13-1, 4-0) remain undefeated in the Southeastern Conference while the Rams (9-5, 2-2) suffer their second league loss.
The lefty Thompson anchored a 19-0 Bucks run — capping off Hoke’s 30-point second quarter — that carried over into the opening three minutes of the latter frame.
“He’s so good,” Swett coach Jeremy Sampson said of Thompson. “He’s crafty around the post. He’s long and athletic. He’s just a very good player … one of the best we’ve seen in a long time.”
Swett trailed by a slim 35-32 count midway through the second quarter following Juwan Jones’ third 3-pointer of the first half — where he poured in 16 of his team-high 21 points.
Hoke, however, was just getting warmed up.
Ignited by consecutive putbacks from Thompson and Kimane Freerman, Hoke responded with an 8-0 run during the half’s final minutes to carry a 43-33 lead into intermission.
“We were down two or something and the next thing I know we were down 10 in a 2-1/2 minute spurt,” Sampson said. “We lost focus. We didn’t get back in transition.”
The bleeding didn’t stop in the third.
Hoke’s Darius Brook, who chipped in 12 points, cut through Swett’s defense and weaved in a layup on the first possesion and the Bucks were off and running to 10 more unanswered points.
“We just came out flat,” Jones said. “No intensity at all. We just got outplayed, pointblank.”
Mitchell Hill halted the run with a layup at the 5-minute mark to snap the Rams’ near six-minute scoring drought.
“We were just playing pressure defense,” Hoke coach Quame Patterson said. “This is a Purnell Swett team that we haven’t seen before. Our guys were kind of shocked. They’re a well-coached team.”
The Bucks stretched their lead to as many as 27 — 66-39 — in the third, with Thompson being a constant on both sides of the ball. A one-handed tomahawk dunk along the baseline and a I’ll-take-that block he snagged from James Chavis in the third highlighted his dominating presence in the paint.
“He’s a special kid,” Patterson said. “He wants to do well and wants to impress and that’s what you want out of your players. When you get that, it makes you look better as a coach.”
But Swett wouldn’t completely go away.
The Rams chipped away at the lead in the fourth, cutting it to 13 at one point, but it was entirely too little, too late. Mitchell Hill shouldered the scoring with a 6-0 run of his own. He finished with 11 while Chavis netted 17.
“I’m proud of our guys — we fought back, we didn’t lay down,” Sampson said. “I told them guys to make it respectable. They’re a very good team. They’re very well coached.
“It was a big game for us … we didn’t do it (win), but it’s still a long season. Six conference games left. We’re looking to make some noise this year.”
Lady Rams outlast Bucks
Laura Bird’s game-high 17 points led the Swett girls basketball team to a 46-38 SEC home win over Hoke Friday night.
Swett rode an 8-0 run late in the third to pull away from the Bucks for good.
Hoke cut it to five — 40-35 — with 2:21 left but that was as close as the Bucks got the rest of the way. Bird helped finish off the Bucks with with four of the Rams’ final six points on consecutive 2-of-2 outings at the free-throw line.
Kayla Lewis added eight points for Swett.
Reach Sports Editor Kaleb Roedel at (910) 272-6111 or email@example.com.