Home Local Sports DOUBLE TROUBLE: Cole, McNeil ignite Raiders’ offense in fourth straight win

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Cole, McNeil ignite Raiders’ offense in fourth straight win

Junior Jullien Cole lays in two of his career-high 35 points in Friday's win. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — Facing a higher-quality opponent on Friday, the Richmond Senior High School boys’ basketball team turned to two of its junior wings to get the job done.

Behind a pair of 30+ point-scoring performances from Jullien Cole and Paul McNeil Jr., the Raiders won their fourth straight game.

Hosting non-conference Uwharrie Charter Academy, Richmond defeated the Eagles 82-64.

Cole had a career night, netting a game-high and personal best 35 points, including five three-pointers. He added 10 rebounds for the double-double and shot an impressive 14-for-18 from the field. 

McNeil, who played in his fourth game since returning to the team, registered his fourth double-double of the winter. He shot 50% from the field and finished with 31 points and a team-high 11 boards.

Combining for 66 of Richmond’s 82 points, Cole had 18 points in the first half and 17 points in the final two periods. McNeil netted 15 points in the first half and added 16 points after the break, including 14 points in the fourth.

Having an impressive game for the Eagles (1-3) was senior Ashton Troutman, who scored 34 points. He scored 13 points in the early going, and kept Uwharrie Charter in range with 16 points in the third and five more points in the fourth.

An early four-point deficit was taken over thanks to a 7-0 run by the Raiders. Cole got his night started with a pair of buckets and freshman Jayden Hamilton netted a triple, his only points of the game.

A back-and-forth opening stanza saw Cole break an 8-8 tie with a free throw at the 4:40 mark. That would give the Raiders the lead for good, and started a 13-7 run to end the first.

McNeil hit a bucket, four free throws and added a breakaway dunk to give him eight points early. Junior Javian Drake laid in a shot under the basket for the first of his five total points and another Cole basket also gave him eight points.

Junior Paul McNeil Jr. jams home a dunk in the first half. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Outscoring the Eagles 20-10 in the second, Richmond relied on 10 more points from Cole. He started the quarter with a deep two and added a pair of triples and another field goal before the half.

Senior Dakota Chavis, who contributed four points in the win, hit a three-ball from the right corner as part of a 16-3 run. McNeil joined the mix with seven more points on a triple, a field goal and two free throws.

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Heading into the locker room, Richmond held a 41-25 advantage.

Junior Toby McInnis pulls down a rebound in the first half. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

The third quarter was highlighted by nine more points from Cole. Junior wing Dylan Lampley added all four of his points in the third period, scoring on a pair of close-range shots.

McNeil connected on his second dunk of the game and both Chavis and Drake knocked down a free throw to carry a 58-48 lead into the fourth.

Troutman’s 16 points in the third came on six field goals and four free throws.

In the final eight minutes, McNeil took control and scored 14 points on two triples and four baskets. Cole chipped in his final two three-pointers and had one more bucket. Drake rounded out the scoring with two more points.

Senior Zion Baldwin grabbed eight rebounds, Lampley had four boards and both Hamilton and junior Toby McInnis had two rebounds.

Scoring nine points each for the Eagles were Jaydon DeNamur and Walker Wilkins.

The Raiders improved to 6-1 following Friday’s win and will start their quest to try and capture another Sandhills Athletic Conference championship title next week.

Richmond will kick off SAC competition on the road at Pinecrest High School (1-2) next Friday, with play set to begin 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.