ROCKINGHAM — Paul McNeil Jr. seemingly couldn’t miss the basket during Friday’s running-clock rout of Union Pines High School.
And neither could the rest of the Richmond Raider basketball players, as the team rolled to a 70-19 victory.
Capping a three-game stretch in four days, the Raiders showed no fatigue as McNeil Jr. tied his career-high with 41 points.
Ahead of the game, McNeil Jr. was recognized at half court with a basketball celebrating his 1,000th career point, which he scored in a win against Southern Lee on Dec. 13.
Matching his best scoring performance from a win against Scotland High School during his sophomore season, McNeil Jr. shot 16-of-22 from the field (73%) and connected on 7-of-12 three-pointers (58%).
McNeil Jr. also recorded a double-double, leading the team with 10 rebounds and added five assists.
Joining McNeil Jr. in double figures was fellow junior Javian Drake, who netted 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting (58%). Drake chipped in three rebounds and three assists.
Other scorers for Richmond were junior Jullien Cole (7 points, 7 rebounds), junior Jamarion Wall (4 points), senior Dakota Chavis (2 points) and junior Dylan Lampley (1 points).
The Raiders were all gas and no brakes from the opening tip, scoring 22 points in each of the first two quarters to take a 44-5 lead at halftime.
Outscoring the Vikings 22-2 in the first eight minutes, Cole scored two quick baskets to start the game. McNeil Jr. made a spinning shot to make it 6-0 before Jaylen Kyle scored Union Pines’ lone basket.
A McNeil Jr. three-pointer at the 5:06 mark sparked a 16-0 run to end the quarter. Drake scored the next four points on a jumper and a shot under the basket and McNeil Jr. floated a mid-range jump shot to make it 15-2.
Cole, who scored all seven of his points in the first, drained a three-pointer from the top of the arc to extend the lead. McNeil Jr. and Drake each added one more field goal before the buzzer.
Fourteen of Richmond’s 22 second-quarter points came from McNeil Jr., who started with a shot off the glass. Owen St. John added two points for the Vikings, which was answered by two McNeil Jr. free throws.
Caleb Milton’s free throw with five minutes to go was Union Pines’ final point in the half. A jumper from Wall started another long scoring run by the Raiders, 18-0, to go into the locker room.
Taking turns finding the basket, McNeil Jr. hit a putback before Drake made a layup and shot off the inbound for four more points.
Chavis netted his two points on a drive through the paint and McNeil Jr. scored the next eight points on a pair of triples and a dunk following a steal to end the half.
Just 22 seconds into the third quarter, McNeil rained down another three-pointer to start the running clock with the lead 47-5. He would go on to score 16 of his final 18 points in the third stanza.
The third-quarter scoring continued with a McNeil Jr. three-pointer, a Drake transition layup and a pair of McNeil Jr. drives. In the closing 2:34 seconds, McNeil Jr. and Drake combined for nine points on a trio of three-balls.
Up 65-14 at the start of the fourth, McNeil Jr. and Wall each had two points in the final period. Lampley capped the team’s scoring with a free throw.
Union Pines was led by Kyle’s nine points and Milton scored three points. Three players had two points apiece.
Atop the SAC standings, Richmond (11-2, 4-0 SAC) will have a lighter schedule next week. The Raiders will travel to sixth-place Lee County High School (6-6, 0-3 SAC) on Tuesday and play at 7:30 p.m.
That will be followed by a non-conference game against St. Pauls on Saturday, played at Red Springs High School.