Home Local Sports Raiders rout Southern Lee to win 8th straight

Raiders rout Southern Lee to win 8th straight

Junior Javian Drake drives the lane in the fourth quarter of Richmond's win over Southern Lee. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — It was deja vu for the Richmond Raider basketball team when it played Southern Lee High School on Friday.

Mirroring their Dec. 13 win over the Cavaliers, the Raiders used a running clock to cruise to a 93-46 win to start the second round of Sandhills Athletic Conference play.

Passing the 90-point threshold for the second time this season against Southern Lee, Richmond won its eighth straight game and remained atop the SAC standings.

It was all hands on deck for Richmond, as eight different players found the basket. Four players — Paul McNeil Jr., Javian Drake, Jullien Cole and Zion Baldwin — reached double figures.

McNeil Jr. led all scorers with 37 points on 13-of-19 shooting with six three-pointers. Playing just the first three quarters, he added seven assists and five rebounds, while also going a perfect 5-for-5 at the line.

Drake netted 16 points, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter with the clock winding. Cole added 15 points and Baldwin’s night consisted of 10 points, including three dunks, the final of which started the running clock with 3:39 to go in the third quarter.

Senior guard Dakota Chavis added two points in the win, but his biggest contribution was his team-leading 10 assists.

From the opening possession, Richmond controlled the tempo when McNeil Jr. splashed down a three-pointer from the right corner. He had 15 points in the first frame and added 12 points in the second quarter.

Freshman guard Jayden Hamilton scored the next four points for Richmond, all of his points in the game, on an athletic spin move under the basket in transition and a layup.

Freshman Jayden Hamilton lays in a basket early in the first quarter. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Baldwin got on the board with a short-range shot and McNeil Jr. scored the next nine points for the Raiders on a three-pointer, a bucket and a foul and another triple.

Leading 18-4, Baldwin slammed home his first dunk, which was followed by a jumper from junior shooting guard Jamarion Wall. In the final 40 seconds, McNeil Jr. hit his fourth three-pointer of the quarter and Baldwin added a putback.

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Leading 27-9 at the start of the second, Richmond added 24 more points from three players before the break.

McNeil Jr. and Cole combined for the first 21 points, trading baskets to enter the locker room up 51-24. Netting four field goals, a three pointer and a free throw was McNeil Jr., and Cole scored his first nine points on a trio of field goals and a three-ball.

Paul McNeil Jr. (2) pulls up for one of his six three-pointers. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

With 1:40 to play, Cole drove the baseline and elevated for a dunk, and Drake capped the first-half scoring with a three-pointer from the left corner.

A 19-6 run by Richmond to begin the third quarter led to Baldwin’s final dunk that initiated the running clock. During that stretch, McNeil Jr. scored seven points on a three-pointer, a layup and a jam.

Cole added six more points on three field goals, while Baldwin and Chavis netted two points apiece. Before the buzzer, Drake scored a basket, Wall added a three-pointer from the right corner and McNeil Jr. made three free throws.

Dakota Chavis (5) had 10 assists and Zion Baldwin (4) scored 10 points. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

The fourth quarter belonged to Drake, who took over and scored 11 points on four drives and another three-pointer. Wall notched a putback for the final of his 7 points and junior Dylan Lampley drove the paint for the team’s final points.

As a team, Richmond shot 39-of-61 from the field (64%). Cole was 7-of-9 (77%) and Drake shot 7-of-10 (70%).

Isaiah Upchurch led the Cavaliers (8-10, 1-5 SAC) in scoring with 14 points.

Following Friday’s win, the Raiders improved to 15-2 this season and remained undefeated with a 7-0 mark against SAC opponents.

Richmond will face a test on Tuesday when Pinecrest High School (10-6, 4-1 SAC), which is in third place in the standings, visits Rockingham. Action will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.