RAEFORD — It was business as usual for the Richmond Raider basketball team on Friday, even without its leading scorer.
Playing on the road at Hoke County High School, the Raiders notched their 10th consecutive win. Using seven scorers, Richmond cruised to a 70-40 victory.
Junior wing Jullien Cole netted a double-double for the Raiders, scoring a game-high 27 points and added 14 rebounds.
Shooting 10-of-17 from the field, Cole splashed down five of the Raiders’ 10 three-pointers. He took control in the fourth quarter, nearly doubling his point total with his final 13 points.
Not playing for Richmond was five-star recruit Paul McNeil Jr., who sat out one of his four required games to remain eligible since his transfer.
Two other Raiders reached double-digits in scoring, courtesy of senior Dakota Chavis and junior Jamarion Wall, who both finished with 10 points. Junior Javian Drake chipped in 9 points.
Both teams battled early, working their way out to an 8-8 tie through the first three minutes. Cole and Wall traded three-pointers from opposite corners and senior Zion Baldwin scored the first of his six points on a putback.
With 4:55 to play, Cole pulled up for his second three-ball from the right corner. The basket gave the Raiders an 11-8 lead, one they would hold onto for the rest of the game.
A deep two-pointer from Wall was followed by five straight points from Chavis to end the quarter. Driving the lane for his first two points, Chavis landed a three-pointer from the left side to make it an 18-12 lead.
Continuing his run into the second, Chavis rang true on another three-pointer in the opening minute. Following suit was junior Dylan Lampley, who drained a triple from the left corner to give Richmond its first double-digit lead.
Part of a 17-4 run in the second period, Drake joined the scoring parade with a putback and a three-pointer.
Extending the lead to 19 points at the break were a Baldwin dunk, a Wall jumper and a transition bucket from freshman Jayden Hamilton.
Up 35-16 to start the second half, Cole returned to the scoresheet with eight more points. He started a 6-0 run by Richmond with a drive, which was followed by two points each from Chavis and Wall.
In the final 57.1 seconds of the third, Cole finished a hard drive through traffic and added the and-one opportunity. He rattled home his third three-ball from the top of the arc in the closing seconds.
With a 27-point lead, Richmond poured on the offense in the final stanza, despite allowing a game-high 20 points to the Bucks (8-13, 5-4 SAC).
Cole sandwiched a putback with his final two three-pointers, and added a field goal, a baseline jam and a free throw.
Drake was the next leading scorer with four points and added an assist when he laid an alley-oop off the backboard to Baldwin for his final two points.
Hamilton capped his five-point night with a transition basket and free throw and Wall notched one more shot from the line.
Baldwin added seven rebounds in the win and junior Toby McInnis picked up some big minutes off the bench and contributed five boards.
Leading the Bucks in scoring was Salah Sutton with 16 points, followed by 8 points from Brandon Graham.
Now 17-2 overall, the first-place Raiders will look to keep their 9-0 SAC record intact on Tuesday with a road game at fifth-place Union Pines High School (9-9, 2-6 SAC).
In the first meeting earlier this month, Richmond defeated the Vikings 70-19. Action will start at 7:30 p.m.