FAYETTEVILLE — Entering Tuesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference showdown between the Richmond Lady Raiders and the Seventy-First Lady Falcons, the two teams were tied for third place in the conference standings with matching 3-2 records.
It was Seventy-First that moved ahead in the standings, as the host Lady Falcons used a third-quarter scoring drought by the Lady Raiders to win on its home court 51-34.
With the loss, Richmond moved to a game under .500 with a 7-8 overall record, while it was also the team’s second-straight SAC loss, evening its record at 3-3. The Lady Falcons improved to 8-5 overall and 4-2 in SAC play.
Richmond head coach Teddy Moseley explained that the team’s efforts from the floor didn’t help its cause, as the Lady Raiders shot 12-of-65 from the field. Many of those missed shots came in the third quarter, as Richmond only managed to score three points in eight minutes, and saw a scoring drought of 4:03 between baskets.
The Lady Raider defense, which has been one of its best assets this season, struggled to shutdown the Lady Falcon scoring tandem of senior Amira Coles and freshman Ayanna Williams. The two combined for 30 points, scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Seventy-First started the game on a 9-0 run before a three-pointer by Taliah Wall stopped the bleeding for Richmond at the 4:01 mark. That bucket sparked a 7-4 run by the Lady Raiders to end the first quarter, and saw layups from freshman Allyiah Swiney and Layne Maultsby cut the deficit to 13-7.
Things seemed to be going in favor of Richmond when Moseley’s squad opened the second frame on a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 14-13. Swiney drained a triple from the right corner, while freshman Jamiya Ratliff hit a pair of free throws and sophomore forward Jakerra Covington painted a shot off the glass.
But that would be the last little bit offensive firepower Richmond could muster, as Coles and Williams helped Seventy-First end the second quarter on a 14-2 run that gave the home team the lead for good. At the break, Richmond trailed 27-16.
In the third quarter, Swiney hit a free throw with 4:24 to go, Richmond’s first point in the second half. The scoring woes continued as the Lady Raiders wouldn’t find the basket again until junior Allexis Swiney floated a baseline jumper into the hoop with 21 seconds remaining.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Lady Falcons held a 20-point advantage, 39-19. A burst in the form of a 6-0 run to start the frame by Richmond breathed some life back into the Lady Raiders, but three combined points over the next 3:04 haunted them down the stretch.
Covington netted a team-high nine points, while the Swiney sisters paired up to add 16 points on the board, eight apiece. Coles and Williams were the game’s only double-digit scorers, but freshman Amore Kirkland tacked on nine points, and junior Nyielah Nick added seven more in the win.
The Lady Raiders will host Scotland High School (6-9, 1-5) Friday at 6 p.m. as they look to end a two-game skid against SAC opponents.