FAYETTEVILLE — Unlike its first three games of the season, the Richmond boys’ basketball team didn’t need a deciding basket in the final minute of play during Saturday’s non-conference win.
Using five double-digit scorers, the Raiders cruised to an 82-59 win on the road at Jack Britt High School. A total of nine Richmond players found the basket, which was a season-high for the team.
Sophomore Paul McNeil netted a game-high 21 points and added 7 rebounds, while fellow sophomore Javian Drake scored a career-high 17 points, all in the second and third quarters.
Also hitting double figures were sophomore Jamarion Wall (13 points, 3 rebounds), senior Deshon Watson (tied career-high with 11 points) and junior Dakota Chavis (10 points, 5 boards).
A 32-point third quarter helped distance the Raiders, which kept their winning streak alive and stretched it to four games. The big lead also allowed Richmond to use a revolving door of players on the floor.
“We started off slow, but we picked it up,” head coach Donald Pettigrew said. “We shot the ball a lot better in the second half, but we still haven’t shot it great in our first four games.
“With five guys in double figures, it shows we have confidence moving the ball to get the easy shot,” he added. “All the guys have been working hard to get better on their game.”
Junior Dakota Chavis (5) was one of five Raiders to reach double figures. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)
Watson, who hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer on Friday against Pine Forest, started with 8 points in the first quarter. He hit a field goal, a triple and three free throws to help Richmond out to a 17-14 lead.
Wall scored a layup off the opening tip for his only points of the quarter, and McNeil splashed down the first of his three three-pointers in the game.
Chavis added a drive through the paint and senior Will Dawkins ended the scoring with a putback on an offensive rebound, spinning in the lane for the first of his 4 points.
Richmond added 17 more points in the second quarter, but Jack Britt (0-4) hung close to take a 34-27 deficit into halftime.
Drake got his scoring started with Richmond’s first five points of the second, hitting a deep two and a three-pointer from the right wing. He finished the frame with 8 points, adding another field goal and a free throw.
McNeil, Chavis and junior Zion Baldwin all had two points in the period, and Wall extended the team’s lead with the first of his three triples from the top of the arc with just over a minute remaining.
Sophomore Jamarion Wall (15) rips away a steal in the first half against Jack Britt. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)
Six Raiders contributed to the high-scoring third quarter, led by 9 points from Drake. He began the second half with a three-ball from the left wing before adding two field goals and two free throws.
Both McNeil and Chavis netted 6 points in the third, Wall chipped in 5 points, and Watson and senior Xavier Callazo hit three pointers from the left corner to round out the scoring.
Leading 66-46 to start the final eight minutes, Richmond used a 13-5 run to extend its lead to 28 points. McNeil scored the first 10 points of the fourth for the Raiders on two triples and two field goals, and Wall capped his scoring with another three-pointer.
Senior Travion Dumas became the final player to score, hitting a foul shot with 1:56 to play.
Dawkins, who had a team-high 9 rebounds, added a pair of free throws to secure the 23-point victory. Collazo was right behind Dawkins with 8 boards.
Senior Will Dawkins (33) pulls in one of his team-high 9 rebounds in Saturday’s win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)
“We were trying to get all of the guys some game experience,” Pettigrew explained. “A lot of them have been working hard all week and I wanted to give them the opportunity to get on the floor. Travion is a senior who comes to practice every day and buys into what we are doing.
“Will is a big body and we’ll need him down the stretch,” he continued. “He’s coming from Marlboro Academy and he’s getting his feet wet and adjusting to the speed of the game. He’ll be someone who helps us in the long run.”
Leading the Buccaneers with 19 points was Chris Crosby, and Demetri Patterson added 11 points in the loss. Other top scorers were Anthony Fontanez (9 points) and Ryan Lord (7 points).
“We still have a long way to go, especially on defense,” Pettigrew closed. “A lot of the boys are 15 or 16 years old and they’re young, still learning the game. We are using these early-season games to continue to get better.”
Richmond (4-0) will open Sandhills Athletic Conference play on Tuesday at home against Southern Lee High School (0-4), and then host Pinecrest High School (2-1) on Friday. Both games are set for 7:30 p.m.