Hoke prep sports in review

Hoke County head coach Dr. George Small talks to Dexter Foster during a game against Union Pines, in Carthage, on Oct. 13, 2022. (PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL)

It was a year of tough sledding for many of the varsity teams at Hoke County High School.

The Sandhills 3A/4A Conference, of which the Fighting Bucks are a part, features some tough opponents from around the region. The conference hosts teams from Pinecrest, Scotland, Richmond, Lee County, Union Pines, and Southern Lee.

However, the Bucks did see some areas of steady improvement in many of their sports throughout 2022.

The boys’ basketball team saw solid results on the season to start the year, finishing off with a winning record overall, 12-8, and in conference play, 7-5. 

Senior Jeremiah Melvin led the Bucks on both ends of the court, averaging 13.4 points per game on 57% shooting, as well as recording 9.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game.

The Bucks came up just short of in the second round of the state 3A/4A championships, losing to Athens Drive 50-49.

However, this season’s team has had a bit more of a struggle, with only a 4-10 record and 1-1 conference record so far.

In girls’ basketball, the Bucks managed to win their first conference game since the 2018-19 season.

The football team also saw some improvements over its last two seasons, finishing 5-6 overall and 3-3 in conference play.

The boys ran into some bad luck in the first round of the state playoffs, having to go against the number one seed in their region. However, one bright spot was senior running back Ethan Wallace, who ran for 1679 yards and 31 total touchdowns on the season.

Wallace had seven games of 100+ yards and carried the bulk of the Bucks’ offense throughout the season, accounting for 31 of the team’s 45 touchdowns on the season.

The soccer team also finished with a solid record, with an overall record of 11-8-1 and a conference record of 6-6-1, good enough for 3rd in the Sandhills 3A/4A conference.

It was a bit of a step down from previous years, but the team still had good results, led by freshman midfielder Pedro Ramos who had 16 goals and eight assists in 19 games. Ramos also took 55 shots on the year.

The girl’s soccer team, however, took a major step backward after a fruitful 2020-21 season in which they went 7-6. This year they went 2-14-3 and just 1-9-2 in conference play.

The girl’s volleyball team also was one of the programs that saw major improvements, going from 1-19 overall and 0-12 in conference play the year before to going 8-14 overall and 4-8 in conference play this past season.

Senior Faith Mason helped lead her team’s turnaround with a 24.8 kill percentage and 0.112 hitting percentage.

But perhaps the most significant story from the Fighting Bucks this season was the softball team who finished with a 15-12 overall record, going 8-4 in conference play. It was a major step forward for the team after finishing 2-12 overall and 1-11 in conference the year prior.

A big part of the success was the development of senior Tamarah Lowrey. Lowrey ended the season with a 0.412 batting average, having hit two home runs and accounting for 31 RBIs. She also pitched in all 27 games, earning 12 wins and an ERA of 2.28. Her OBA was 0.182, and her OBP was 0.255.

The softball team made it to the first round of the 4A state championships before falling to Richmond 4-2.

The Hoke County Edition of the North State Journal will continue to report on high school sports as these teams march forward into the new year.