Home Local Sports Raiders edged by nationally-ranked John Marshall

Raiders edged by nationally-ranked John Marshall

ROSports File Photo: Seniors Javion Drake (left), Jamarion Wall (15) and Paul McNeil Jr. (third from left) each scored double-digits on Saturday. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

KILL DEVIL HILLS — A slow start to Saturday’s game led to the first loss of the season for the Richmond Senior High School boys’ basketball team.

Finishing up the Good Guys vs. Cancer showcase at First Flight High School, the Raiders fell by two possessions to nationally-ranked John Marshall High School (Richmond, Va.).

Despite two 20+ scoring performances from seniors Javian Drake and Paul McNeil Jr., Richmond lost 84-78 to the Justices, ranked by MaxPreps as the No. 4 team in the country.

A 14-point deficit at the end of the first quarter put the Raiders in a hole from which they never recovered. 

Richmond outscored John Marshall 46-38 in the second half and head coach Donald Pettigrew said the Raiders “had a chance” to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. 

He noted, however, that McNeil Jr. missed two minutes of game action due to cramps. But the Raiders got as close as five points.

“We wanted to see how we stacked up to one of the top teams in the country and the guys responded,” Pettigrew said. “They played hard and it was a battle all 32 minutes. Basketball is a game of runs, and when things weren’t going our way, they kept their heads down and kept chopping away.

“We had a chance late in the game,” he added. “Even though I’m not big on moral victories, I’m happy with how we competed until the very end. Now we have to see how we respond.”

Following his career-high 50-point game the night before, McNeil Jr. led all scorers with 28 points. He recorded his fourth double-double of the season with a team-high 15 rebounds and had three assists and a steal.

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Drake finished a productive weekend with a season-high 22 points to go along with six boards, two assists and two steals. He netted 40 points between Richmond’s two games.

The Justices (2-1) took a 25-11 lead after the opening quarter. The two teams both scored 21 points in the second stanza to enter halftime with John Marshall leading 46-32. Drake had 12 points at the intermission.

Chipping away at their deficit in the second half, the Raiders cut into the score 65-54 at the end of the third. In the final quarter, Richmond put up 24 points to John Marshall’s 19 points.

Other contributors for the Raiders were senior Jamarion Wall (14 points), junior Ahaiver McDonald (9 points) and sophomore Jayden Hamilton (5 points). Senior Braylon Barfield collected eight rebounds.

The Justices were led in scoring by Aiden Agrabright (23 points), Latrell Allmond (22 points) and Damon Thompson Jr. (14 points).

The Raiders (3-1) start Sandhills Athletic Conference play on Tuesday at home against Pinecrest High School (2-1).

Richmond will start its campaign to win its second straight SAC championship at 7:30 p.m.

Sports editor’s note: Statistics and game information were provided by Donald Pettigrew, Keith Parsons and Hoop State Network.