CAMERON — A playoff berth and at least a share of the Sandhills Athletic Conference title were secured by the Richmond Senior High School boys’ basketball team on Tuesday.
The Raiders won their 11th consecutive game, completing the season sweep of Union Pines High School behind a final score of 74-57.
Playing its second straight game without leading scorer Paul McNeil Jr. (eligibility), Richmond had to contend with a loud atmosphere inside Union Pines’ gym.
Trailing at the end of the first quarter, and by as many as 10 points in the second, the Raiders relied on a 24-14 scoring stretch before halftime to take control.
For the second time in as many games, junior wing Jullien Cole led the team in scoring with 26 points, including six three-pointers. Cole also added a team-high seven rebounds.
Junior shooting guard Jamarion Wall chipped in 18 points, netting 14 points in the second half. Fellow junior guard Javian Drake also reached double digits, scoring 12 points off the bench.
Wall started the game with a pair of free throws and a no-look bounce pass from Drake to Cole for one of his three assists in the paint led to an easy layup. Cole followed with a mid-range jumper to give Richmond a 6-2 lead.
But the Vikings’ (9-10, 2-7 SAC) Jaylen Kyle and Demari Patterson each scored five points to start a 15-5 run to close the first.
Senior Dakota Chavis notched a free throw for the first of his three points to tie the score 7-7, but Richmond wouldn’t score again until junior Dylan Lampley found the basket on an inbound pass. Chavis finished the game with five assists.
Trailing by eight points, Drake tallied the final basket of the quarter with a jumper to cut the deficit to 17-11.
A 6-2 stretch by Union Pines to begin the second made it a 10-point hole for Richmond, its largest of the game. Drake was responsible for the two points following a steal and an easy bucket.
But a Cole three-pointer, one of his three in the second, started the comeback. Following that basket, Richmond’s next three shots through the cylinder were from beyond the arc.
Cole had two of them and Lampley added to his seven points in the game with one from the right corner. A drive from Wall and another two points from Drake made it a 29-28 lead.
In the closing 1:20 of the first half, Drake, Lampley and Cole each scored two points to carry a 35-31 lead into the break.
Keeping the offensive pressure on, the Raiders outscored the Vikings 21-11 in the third quarter. Cole rattled in nine more points, all on three-balls, to lead the charge.
Wall nearly matched his teammate, netting eight points. He hit a pair of triples from the left side and added a baseline drive.
With the lead climbing into double digits, senior Zion Baldwin recorded the first of his two dunks on a breakaway jam. Freshman Jayden Hamilton scored the first two of his four second-half points to make it a 56-42 lead going into the final eight minutes.
A 12-4 run to start the period gave the Raiders a 22-point advantage, their largest lead of the game. Cole knocked in a pair of free throws and Wall followed with a bucket and a foul and his final three-pointer.
Hamilton and Drake both scored a basket in transition to break it open to 68-46 with just over five minutes to play.
Not going quietly, the Vikings answered by scoring the next nine points. But a Chavis drive, a Drake layup and an alley-oop from Drake to Baldwin capped a 6-2 run in the final 2:12.
Trent Hilburn finished as the leading scorer for the Vikings, netting 18 points. Kyle had 11 points and Aiden Leonard scored 8 points.
Richmond (18-2, 10-0 SAC) will host sixth-place Lee County High School (7-12, 1-8 SAC) on Friday. The Raiders’ two senior players will be recognized on senior night, starting at 7:30 p.m.