CARY — A tough start to the season continued for the Richmond Senior High School girls’ basketball team on Friday, albeit not without a few bright spots.
On the road at Panther Creek High School, the reigning NCHSAA 4A state champion, the Lady Raiders fell short 66-43.
Playing another top-three ranked opponent, the second time in the last four games, head coach Teddy Moseley said he was “really proud of (the Lady Raiders’) effort” in another “stepping stone forward.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of these girls, the score is not indicative of how well we played tonight,” Moseley shared afterward. “Not at one point did this team lay down or give up, every single girl fought to the end.
“MaKailah Jackson was the unsung hero,” he added of the senior center. “She played great defense and rebounded really well. I’m not disappointed by our effort, and as a matter of fact, I’m more impressed by this game than our two wins this season.”
For the fifth time this season in as many games, junior point guard Jamyia Lindsey led the Lady Raiders on the scoreboard with a season-high 27 points.
The North Carolina A&T State University commit recorded five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Also on the floor Friday were two other Division I commits — Panther Creek’s Taylor Barner (Memphis) and Olivia Tucker (Campbell). Barner netted a game-high 29 points and Tucker scored 27 points.
The two senior players combined for seven three-pointers in the game and went 9-of-12 from the line.
A slow first quarter on offense for Richmond ended in a 27-7 deficit. Barner and Tucker combined for 25 points for the Lady Catamounts, while Lindsey got on the board with the first of her five three-pointers in the game.
Jackson, who finished with a team-high six rebounds, scored all four of her points in the first quarter. She made a transition bucket and added a pair of shots from the charity stripe.
The Lady Raiders added 13 points in the second quarter with a dozen of them coming from Lindsey. She combined to net 20 points between the middle quarters.
With Richmond trailing by 22 points, 35-13, a triple from Lindsey in the left corner helped start an offensive push. Freshman forward Madisen Jackson followed with a free throw, the first of her four total points.
In the closing three minutes of the half, Lindsey drained another three-ball and made a step-back jumper from the elbow to give her 15 points at the break. Richmond trailed 44-20 after the opening two quarters.
A 16-8 run by the Lady Catamounts (2-0) during the third quarter saw Richmond’s deficit grow to 32 points, 60-28, its largest of the game.
Lindsey was responsible for all of the Lady Raiders’ points, rattling home a pair of triples from beyond the arc and driving the paint for two more points.
Not giving up, Richmond played to the final buzzer and outscored Panther Creek 15-6 in the final stanza. Five Lady Raiders found the basket in the fourth, including Lindsey’s final four points.
Madisen Jackson, who hauled in five boards, went on a 3-0 run by herself. She finessed her way to the bucket for two points off the glass and added a free throw.
Capping Richmond’s scoring were sophomore Jasiah Gilchrist with a drive, and a three-pointer apiece from seniors Ryelan Lyerly and Yasmen McLaughlin.
Junior J’Nasia Neal made her time on the floor count defensively, grabbing two rebounds and adding a blocked shot.
“I thought we played great defense tonight and rebounded the best we could,” Moseley shared. “We played the No. 2 team in the state and they’re No. 2 for a reason. They’re a great team, they run their sets and they have two Division I players.
“We have a pretty good Division I player ourselves in Jamyia (Lindsey),” he closed. “I’m proud of the effort and I’m excited to see how we grow from this experience when we start conference play.”
With the loss, the Lady Raiders’ overall record moved to 2-3 on the season.
Richmond will open Sandhills Athletic Conference play on Tuesday at home against Pinecrest High School (0-4). The quest for the Lady Raiders second conference championship in three seasons begins at 6 p.m.
The Richmond Observer will post a photo gallery of Friday’s non-conference loss at Panther Creek soon.