Home Local Sports Late lapse costs Raiders against Knoxville Catholic in 5Star Preps Hoop Jam...

Late lapse costs Raiders against Knoxville Catholic in 5Star Preps Hoop Jam opener

Junior point guard Javian Drake (3) lays in two of his game-high 26 points in Friday's loss to Knoxville Catholic. (Photo contributed by Danny Parker/5Star Preps).

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Starting its holiday break with a road trip west, the Richmond Raider basketball team couldn’t hold onto a late-game lead on Friday.

The Raiders and head coach Donald Pettigrew played in the 5Star Preps Hoop Jam, and faced a formidable Knoxville Catholic High School program.

Despite leading at the end of each of the first three quarters, Richmond suffered a 71-67 loss to the Fighting Irish.

The game was the third of seven on Friday’s schedule and was played at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.

“It was a good game and we jumped on them pretty good early,” Pettigrew said. “(Knoxville) was able to cut the lead in the third, and we just didn’t execute in the fourth quarter like we normally do.

“Javian (Drake) came ready to play and he had 22 points in the first half,” he added. “We faced a different style of team and the competition level was much higher. It was a good experience to play in an arena against a good team, which will help us prepare for the playoffs.”

Knoxville Catholic (9-1) was the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Division II, Class AA state runner-up the past two years. The Fighting Irish won the state championship in 2020.

Drake was Richmond’s leading scorer, finishing with a game-high 26 points. He went 11-of-17 from the field, including a team-high four three-pointers. The 26 points were also a new single-game career-high for Drake.

Pettigrew noted that junior wing Paul McNeil Jr., who finished second on the team with 12 points, “got into foul trouble and fouled out.”


According to Pettigrew, Richmond was whistled for 19 fouls to Knoxville Catholic’s five.

Junior wing Jullien Cole and freshman guard Jayden Hamilton both finished the game with eight points, seeing Hamilton knock down a pair of triples.

Contributing five points was junior shooting guard Jamarion Wall, who had a bucket and a three-pointer. Rounding out the Raiders scoring were seniors Zion Baldwin and Dakota Chavis, who both recorded four points.

Richmond took a 22-17 lead after the first quarter, and extended its lead to double-digits, 44-33, at halftime.

But Knoxville Catholic closed the gap to 54-51 at the end of three, and outscored Richmond 17-13 in the final eight minutes to secure the win. 

The loss for the Raiders ended a season-high six-game winning streak. Leading scorers for Knoxville Catholic were Cade Murphy (15 points), Deondrea Lindsey (13 points) and Yesan Warren (12 points).

Richmond (7-2) will finish out the tournament on Saturday with a game against Lebanon High School (Tenn.) at 3 p.m. 

The Blue Devils are 6-3 and will play their first game of the tournament on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Note: Stats were provided by Richmond assistant coach Keith Parsons and stats and the photo were contributed by 5Star Preps.

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Kyle Pillar is a 22-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on X @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.