ROCKINGHAM — Lady Raider head basketball coach Teddy Moseley’s message following Tuesday’s home loss to Sandhills Athletic Conference foe Pinecrest High School was simple: his team didn’t play up to its potential.
Richmond played host to the Lady Patriots looking to avenge an early-season four-point loss. But out of the gates Pinecrest and junior Keayna McLaughlin controlled the game, and rolled to a 57-28 win.
“We are much better than how we played tonight,” Moseley commented after the game. “We came out flat, which is the story of every single game this season. We missed a lot of easy layups and got ourselves in the hole. We can’t do that against teams like Pinecrest.
“Defensively, we played a much better second half,” he added. “We just need to be able to start games like the way we play in the third and fourth quarter.”
The Lady Patriots (17-2, 8-1 SAC) began the game on a 10-3 run, causing Moseley to call an early timeout. Richmond responded out of the pause with an Allexis Swiney layup, but Pinecrest closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 17-5 lead at the end of the first six minutes.
McLaughlin started the second quarter with a three-pointer, the first of her eight points in the second frame. The Lady Raiders were outscored 15-7 in the second period, as another McLaughlin triple in the closing 1:37 gave the first-place Lady Patriots a 20-point lead, 32-12, at the break.
At halftime, McLaughlin had already netted 14 of her game-high 22 points, outscoring the entire Lady Raider offense.
As Moseley noted, his team managed to play tougher defense in the final two quarters, but the Richmond offense still struggled. Pinecrest was held to 14 points in the third, but jumped out to its biggest lead of the night, 31 points, when McLaughlin hit a three-pointer with 3:20 left in the quarter.
The Lady Raiders used a Jayla McDougald floater and three free throws to end the quarter on a 5-0 run, their largest of the night, to cut the deficit to 46-26 to begin the fourth quarter.
Grinding it out until the final buzzer, the Lady Raiders used baskets by Taliah Wall and Anajah Redfearn, a three -pointer from Bree Wall and a free throw from Jakerra Covington to chip away at the lead.
But it wasn’t enough, as Shakiya Purcell led the Lady Patriots with six points, with McLaughlin capping her night with three more in the fourth quarter.
“(McLaughlin) was tough,” Moseley shared. “Pinecrest is disciplined and patient — they look to score. We didn’t look to score.”
From the floor, the Lady Raiders shot 10-for-54 (18.5 percent), hitting five field goals in each half.
Leading Richmond in scoring were Covington and Wall, each of whom had six points. McDougald and Swiney both added four points in the loss. McLaughlin led all scorers with 22 points, getting six more from Malika Dailey and Kelly Clark.
The Lady Raiders (9-9, 5-4 SAC) will look to get back in the win column Friday when they travel to Jack Britt High School (12-5, 6-2 SAC). Tip is slated for 6 p.m.