ROCKINGHAM — With the clock dwindling inside five seconds of regulation during Friday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference game between Richmond and Pinecrest high schools, junior guard Caleb Hood closed the lane and made his only block of the night.
That play would prove to help the No. 10 ranked Raiders earn a 53-50 win over the No. 6 ranked Patriots in the final seconds.
Hood’s block came against a driving Bradlee Haskell, who finished with a game-high 19 points. Swatting away Haskell’s attempt in the paint preserved a one-point lead for Richmond.
Icing the win to help the Raiders improve to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in SAC play, the last remaining unbeaten team in the conference, was senior guard Quamir Sivels. With 1.1 ticks left, Sivels drained a pair of free throws to give the Raiders the three-point win, the final of his team-high 14 points.
“This was a total team win tonight,” a smiling Donald Pettigrew said after the game. “The football guys don’t know everything yet — they’re still learning our sets, but that’s part of it. But all the guys played hard and it took everyone to earn this win.”
Friday’s victory marked the third straight game the Raiders defeated the Patriots. Junior forward Nygie Stroman would chip in 13 points, while 12 of Sivels’ points came from beyond the arc (team-high four three-pointers).
Hood, along with juniors Jakolbe Baldwin, Dalton Stroman and CJ Tillman, were playing just their second game of the season. Pettigrew praised their efforts on both ends of the floor and said they’re making quick adjustments.
Dalton Stroman had six points, Baldwin added five points and Hood notched three points in the second half. But it was junior point guard PJ McLaughlin who helped the Raiders off to a strong start.
The first quarter belonged to the Raiders, seeing the home team bounce out to an 11-0 run off the tip. McLaughlin would score the team’s first four points on a pair of free throws and a floater, while Sivels splashed the first of his four triples.
Nygie Stroman answered on the next possession with his own three-pointer, and a Jarvis Tillman free throw put Richmond up 11 points at the halfway point. A Haskell drive at the 3:47 mark proved to be Pinecrest’s first basket, and the first quarter would end with a 16-8 Richmond lead.
The Patriots outscored Richmond 16-12 in the second stanza to make it a four-point game at halftime. Haskell and teammate JJ Goins each had four points, while Noah Lyons and Sam Stoltz added three points each.
Sivels kept the Raiders on top with a pair of three-pointers, both coming from the right wing. Dalton Stroman hit back-to-back shots under the basket, and Nygie Stroman made an athletic baseline jumper for Richmond’s other two points. At the half, the home team led 28-24.
Pettigrew sent sophomore guard Jalen David in to start the second half, and said he provided “a spark” for the team. Both teams would score nine points in the frame, with Richmond’s scoring starting with a McLaughlin drive.
Another Nygie Stroman baseline shot led to a spinning Hood basket in transition. To cap the scoring, Sivels aired a shot from way downtown before celebrating and receiving a technical foul. Haskell had seven of Pinecrest’s points.
With Richmond leading 37-33 at the start of the fourth quarter, Pinecrest slowly chipped away at the lead. David netted three points, while Baldwin scored all five of his points in the final eight minutes.
A 7-2 run by the Patriots ended with Will Bode laying in a basket under the rim on a pass from Haskell to tie the game at 50 points with under 30 seconds left in regulation. A foul by Aiden Lyons on Nygie Stroman on the next possession sent the 6-7 forward to the line with 21.5 ticks on the clock.
Nygie Stroman made one of his two shots, proving to be the game-winning point. On the next inbound, Hood made his block on Haskell, which led to Sivels hitting his free throws. A final attempt by Pinecrest saw its shot bounce off the iron as the buzzer sounded.
“PJ was solid for us the whole first half,” Pettigrew said. “And Jalen was a spark in the second half. Quamir did what he’s done all year with the three-pointers. The crowd was electric and this is why I love this town and our community. There’s nothing like it.
“Coach Snyder makes it tough for us with his good defense,” he added of Pinecrest. “Haskell is a tough player and does a good job. But our guys stayed focus and we kept playing the way we wanted to play.”
He closed by saying “it’s a long season” and he wants to see the Raiders “continue to grow” as they look to stay atop the SAC standings.
Richmond will travel to Cheraw High School on Tuesday for a non-conference game. Tipoff is expected for 7:30 p.m.