MEDFORD - Homecoming week is a staple of the high school experience.
From the parades to the pep rallies. From the hallway competitions to themed wardrobes, homecoming week allows students to exhibit their school spirit.
The annual tradition usually takes place in the fall for most learning facilities. For Pemberton’s Cameron Downs and Jordan Lomax, it took place on Friday night.
The duo combined for 32 points as Pemberton cruised past Medford Tech, 65-48, in a pivotal Burlington County Scholastic League Freedom Division matchup.
Downs and Lomax played under the direction of Jaguars coach Nick Powell on Hawkin Road in Medford for two seasons before transferring to Pemberton in 2020.
“I was definitely waiting on this one,” Downs said. “We were supposed to play them two weeks ago. They got shut down. It just made me even hungrier to come out and get the ‘W.’”
Downs poured in a game-high 19 points and Lomax added 13.
The Hornets’ victory on Friday was their first against Medford Tech since 2016. Following the win six years ago, Pemberton proceeded to win its first sectional title in school history a month later.
The two teams also met three times in 2014, including a bout in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals, with the Hornets winning two out of the three matchups. Pemberton’s 60-57 victory against the Jaguars on March 8, 2014 propelled it to the SJ Group 2 final.
The latest installment of the rivalry was just as thrilling.
“Great competitiveness between both teams,” Downs said. “Definitely special.”
“The energy was amazing tonight,” Lomax added. “It feels amazing. When we bring our energy we just take off the crowd’s energy and it just builds up more for us.”
The Hornets jumped out to a 15-9 lead after the first quarter. Medford Tech tied the contest at 9-9 before Pemberton closed out the period on a 6-0 run.
The Jaguars utilized a 1-3-1 zone defense in the second quarter to trap the corners in the half court and invade the passing lanes as Pemberton attempted to dismantle the alignment. The added pressure led to steals and points in transition as Medford Tech closed the half on a 12-6 run to cut the deficit to two points.
The Hornets’ halftime adjustments were evident as the Jaguars’ zone was dissected in the third quarter and Pemberton outscored the hosts 22-11 in the period.
“Our coach gave us a great game plan,” Lomax said. “He told us to drive, kick, just move the ball. We opened up teammates, opened up the lane.”
Senior Isham McClain threw down a slam dunk to conclude the third quarter and bring the visitors’ section to their feet. The play boosted Pemberton’s momentum as the visiting Hornets outscored Medford Tech 39-24 over the final two quarters.
McClain finished with 11 points, including eight in the third quarter, and Morton Wilson-Sigler contributed 8.
Sophomore Tre Powell led Medford Tech with a team-high 18 points and sophomore Myles Primas added 15.
Pemberton has now won four out of its last five games after enduring a five-game losing streak from December 22 to January 14.
“We started out a little rough during the season,” Downs said. “Getting back to .500, 0-0 right now, (is huge). Just gotta keep building off that winning streak.”