ROCKINGHAM — Looking to be in midseason form on Tuesday, the Richmond Senior High School boys’ basketball team notched its fourth win in five games in the early going.
Unlike last year’s meeting that was a close four-point win decided in the final minute on free throws, the Raiders sailed past Northern Guilford High School 91-53.
Netting a season-high in points as a team, the Raiders relied on a barrage of three-pointers, landing 15 triples across eight players. Ten total players found the basket for Richmond in the win.
A pair of junior wings provided the bulk of Richmond’s scoring, as Paul McNeil Jr. and Jullien Cole recorded 25 points and 21 points, respectively.
In his first home game since transferring back to Richmond, McNeil also registered a double-double with 13 rebounds. Scoring seven points in the first half, McNeil added 18 points in the second half, including 12 points in the third.
Cole added four boards and knocked down a team-high five three-pointers. All of his 21 points came in the first half.
The Raiders got to work early, jumping out to a 19-0 lead through the first five minutes. Cole had 10 of those points, hitting three three-balls from the right side and adding a free throw.
Adding to that run was junior guard Dylan Lampley, who hit a three-pointer for the first of his six points.
An alley-oop from senior Dakota Chavis to fellow senior Zion Baldwin extended the lead, and McNeil added a three-pointer from the right corner and made the subsequent free throw.
The Nighthawks (1-1) got on the board with 3:04 to play in the first, a free throw by Chris Mitchell.
Closing out a 35-point opening eight minutes, McNeil and junior guard David McNair notched three-pointers. Cole went on a 5-0 run of his own, finishing an old-fashioned three-point play and hitting a spinning jumper.
Freshman Jayden Hamilton closed the period on a 5-0 stretch, connecting on the eighth triple of the quarter and adding a transition bucket.
Leading 35-13 to start the second quarter, Richmond kept its transition scoring going at a high rate. Sophomore Raymond Knotts got on the board with a putback on an offensive rebound and Cole capped his scoring with a pair of triples to make it a 43-18 advantage.
Hamilton added the final of his seven points on a layup and junior Toby McInnis joined the scoring parade by splashing home a three-pointer from the top of the arc.
A 6-3 run to close the half started with another breakaway jam from Baldwin, who finished with six points and eight rebounds.
Junior guard Javian Drake laid in a bucket and Chavis found the basket on a putback. At the break, Richmond held a 54-26 lead.
Using a 16-2 scoring spurt to start the third, the Raiders initiated the running clock by going up 42 points following a McNeil three-pointer from the left wing with 4:48 left. He also had five other points during that span.
Adding to the run, Baldwin ended his scoring with a putback and Chavis hit a three-pointer to close out his five-point night. A free throw and a bucket from Lampley helped make it 70-28.
In the closing two minutes, Drake and McNeil combined for seven more points to extend the lead to 77-36.
McNair started the fourth with his second triple of the game and Knotts became the final Raider to land a three-pointer. McNeil threw down a one-handed jam in transition and added four points on a pair of free throws and a field goal.
A transition bucket from Drake gave him the final of his seven points in the win.
Northern Guilford was led by Ben Mulry’s 12 points and Cam Milton added 11 points for the Nighthawks. Scoring eight points was Jordan Williams.
The Raiders (4-1) have a quick return to the floor, making the trip to non-conference Purnell Swett High School (0-2) on Wednesday.
Looking for the season sweep of the Rams, the two teams will tip off at 7:30 p.m.
Note: The Richmond junior varsity basketball team (1-0) will also play at Purnell Swett on Wednesday, starting at 4:30 p.m.