Home Local Sports Conference lead grows for Raiders following 27-point win over Pinecrest

Conference lead grows for Raiders following 27-point win over Pinecrest

The Raiders celebrate after Javian Drake (3) dished an alley-oop to Paul McNeil Jr. (2). (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — In total team effort fashion, the Richmond Raider basketball team delivered a convincing victory over its 4A rival on Tuesday.

All 10 players on Richmond’s roster found the basket en route to an 82-55 victory over Pinecrest High School.

Completing the season sweep of the Patriots, Richmond extended its season-long winning streak to nine games. 

The win also moved the Raiders’ lead in the Sandhills Athletic Conference to 2.5 games over second-place Scotland.

For the fourth time in the last five games, junior wing Paul McNeil Jr. eclipsed the 30-point mark. Playing just three quarters, he scored a game-high 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting (68%).

McNeil Jr. nearly had a triple-double for the second straight game, finishing with 12 rebounds and five assists. At the end of the third quarter, McNeil Jr.’s 31 points were just two fewer than Pinecrest’s total.

Also reaching double figures against his former team was junior wing Jullien Cole, who added 19 points on 5-of-13 from the floor. He scored two three-pointers and notched nine boards.

Senior Zion Baldwin, juniors David McNair and Jamarion Wall, along with freshman Jayden Hamilton all had six points. 

Juniors Dylan Lampley and Toby McInnis netted three points each and senior Dakota Chavis and junior Javian Drake capped the scoring with two points apiece.

Junior Paul McNeil Jr. (2) netted a game-high 31 points in Tuesday’s win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

An 11-2 scoring stretch to start the first quarter paved the way to a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter for Richmond. McNeil Jr. scored the first of his two three-pointers and added the and-one opportunity.

Wall extended the lead with a triple from the top of the arc, which was followed by a McNeil Jr. steal and transition bucket. Adding a jumper from the baseline, Wall ended the run.

In the final 3:00 of the first, McNeil Jr. hit a jumper and Hamilton drove the paint for his first two points. Cole got on the board with a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 12 points.


Following the same script, the Raiders rolled out to a 30-10 lead in the opening minutes of the second period. Finding a groove on offense, another big 13-3 run broke the game open for Richmond.

Cole opened with five points on a three-pointer and a bucket, which set in motion three dunks on consecutive possessions for the Raiders. The first was a one-handed jam from Baldwin for his first points.

On the next trip down the floor, Drake connected with McNeil Jr. for an alley-oop dunk, and McNeil Jr. followed with a fastbreak slam in transition. A deep two-pointer from No. 2 made it a 20-point deficit for the Patriots (10-7, 4-2 SAC).

Richmond held three 21-point leads in the second quarter, the first following a tip by McNeil Jr. Hamilton added a close range shot and an old-fashioned three-point play from Cole grew the lead to 36-15.

Adding the final two of his 10 points in the second, McNeil Jr. gave the Raiders a 38-17 lead at the break.

Junior Jullien Cole (24) pulls in one of his nine rebounds over Colby Wallace (20). (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Five Raiders contributed to a 28-point third quarter, which saw Richmond hold its largest lead of the game, 34 points, two different times.

McNeil Jr. scored his final 13 points of the game on four buckets, a three-pointer and two free throws. Cole, who also played just three quarters, kept pace with his final eight points on two baskets, a three-ball and a free throw.

Baldwin netted his final four points on shots in the paint and a Chavis drive, coupled with a Wall free throw, made it a 66-33 lead.

Head coach Donald Pettigrew cleared the bench in the fourth quarter, as five different players combined for Richmond’s final 16 points. McNair rattled home a pair of triples from the right corner for all six of his points.

Drake and Hamilton scored two points each and Lampley completed a hard drive and an and-one opportunity. With the clock winding, McInnis got the crowd on its feet with a contested three-pointer.

Junior Toby McInnis was one of 10 Raiders to score against the Patriots. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Colby Wallace led the Patriots in scoring with 10 points, while Elijah Melton and Will Stites both chipped in eight points.

Continuing their quest for their second straight SAC title, the first-place Raiders (16-2, 8-0 SAC) will head to Hoke County High School (8-12, 5-3 SAC) on Friday. Action will start at 7:30 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.