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The “Stanback Show’s” 21 points Not Enough to Lift Raiders Past Pinecrest; Fall 64-51

Junior guard Malik Stanback went off in the first quarter Friday, draining 13 points and three three-pointers.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Pillar.

ROCKINGHAM – Despite a career night by junior guard Malik Stanback, the Richmond Senior High School Raiders varsity basketball team dropped its second consecutive game Friday night.

Entering Raider Gym were the Pinecrest High School Patriots, and following a three-point shooting clinic by both teams, the Sandhills Athletic Conference foe left as 64-51 victors.

Richmond (1-3, 1-1 SAC), which was playing its third game in four nights, relied heavily on Stanback, as he drilled a game-best five three-pointers, while also scoring a personal best and game-high 21 points. But Richmond’s seven total three-pointers weren’t enough to lift it past an elusive Patriots team (7-1, 2-0 SAC), which drained 10 three-pointers of their own.

In a first half that saw a dozen Richmond turnovers, and two long scoring droughts, the Raiders couldn’t regain their footing, ultimately resulting in their first home loss of the season.

Head coach Donald Pettigrew mixed things up Friday, and gave Stanback a role in the starting five, as he’s generally come off the bench to this point in the season.

Richmond senior forward Malik Flowers got the game’s scoring started with a jumper in the paint just 0:22 seconds in, which would prove to be Richmond’s only lead of the night. A three-pointer on the ensuing Pinecrest possession by senior guard Jamaan Bailey started a 10-0 run by the Patriots.

Bailey, who hit a Pinecrest-high three three-pointers on the night, was one of several Patriots players to remain consistent from downtown.

“They were hitting shots tonight,” Pettigrew said of Pinecrest’s shooting performance. “(Jayson) Jones and (Tyrell) Allmond were hitting. It isn’t what we wanted; they were hot and did a good job setting screens and getting guys open. We adjusted too late.”

The Raiders didn’t score again in the first quarter until Stanback made the first frame his own, which started with a free throw at the 5:03 mark. This fueled 6-0 run by the 6-2 guard, and cut the deficit to 13-9. Stanback would tack on two more three-pointers (one from each corner of the floor) to finish with 13 points in the first quarter.

Trailing 20-15 entering the second quarter, Richmond appeared to be hinged on closing the gap, but head coach Ben Snyder’s team started the second stanza on a 7-0 run, which included another Bailey shot from beyond the arc.

For the Raiders, the latter part of the first half belonged to junior forward Xavier Pettigrew, who went six-for-eight at the charity stripe in the quarter, and tallied eight of his 15 total points.

“We’ve been waiting for Malik (Stanback) to find his stroke,” Pettigrew said. “He’s probably our best shooter; he can light it up, and that was big for us. He kept us in the game early.

“Xavier did a good job (hitting) his free throws,” Pettigrew added. “Those were really the only two bright spots for us (tonight).”

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The Patriots would explode on offense, and outscored the Raiders 10-3 in the final 3:15 of play before heading to the locker room. Pinecrest’s largest lead of the night came in this span, as it led by 17 points before a Pettigrew free throw made it a 42-26 game at the half.

Junior forward Xavier Pettigrew (23) hits a jumper in the second quarter of Friday’s loss to Pinecrest. He had 15 points.

The only quarter Pettigrew’s team outscored its opponent in was the third, as the Raiders’ defense held the Patriots to just nine points, while netting 13 of their own. Stanback hit two more threes in the quarter, and junior guard Roderick Newton added with his only bucket of the night, a three-pointer from the right corner after a cross-court pass from senior teammate Kaleb Douglas.

Behind five additional points from Pettigrew, Richmond entered the fourth quarter by cutting its deficit to just nine points, 51-42. But a stagnant fourth quarter shooting performance that saw Richmond get no closer than seven points within the lead, solidified the Patriots’ conference-leading seventh overall win.

The Raiders made it interesting down the stretch, as Pettigrew got the fourth quarter started with a floater following a missed Stanback three-pointer. Senior guard Da’Shaun Wallace joined the action, as he hit his only field goal of the night, a tip in, with 5:15 remaining.

But back-to-back buckets by the Patriots in a 20-second span put the game out of reach, as they increased their lead to 61-48. Senior guard Carl McNeal hit Richmond’s last bucket of the night with 3:08 remaining, which was a contested three-pointer, but the Raiders were outscored 13-9 in the final quarter.

Aside from Stanback and Pettigrew’s scoring performances, the Raiders didn’t put forth any significant numbers. Flowers ended with four points, while McNeal, Newton and Wallace each had just three points.

The Patriots were led by senior point guard Jayson Jones, who had a team-high 15 points and two three-pointers. Also chipping in were senior forward Tyrell Allmond (13 points, one three-pointer), senior guard Kenston Gillepsie (8 points, two three-pointers) and freshman Bradlee Haskell (7 points, one three-pointer).

Defensively, coach Pettigrew noted that his team began in a triangle-and-two defense, but admitted that he may have waited too long to switch it after the Patriots went on several unanswered scoring runs. But he was pleased with the team’s performance from the free-throw line, as Richmond went 12-for-20 (60 percent), and has been an area of concern early in the season.

Richmond will return to play Tuesday and Friday of next week, with both games being on the road. Up first is Jack Britt High School (4-2, 0-2 SAC), followed by last season’s conference champion Hoke County High School (6-1, 1-0 SAC). Pettigrew expects both teams to be competitive, but is looking forward to getting back in the win column.

“There is a lot of fight in our guys,” Pettigrew concluded. “We have to start from the beginning. We can’t wait until later on in the games (to get going). We get down big and it’s hard to fight back. But our guys can fight back, and that’s a typical Richmond County team. We’ll fight back regardless.”

Tipoff against both SAC teams is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. following the Lady Raiders’ games.

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Kyle Pillar is a nine-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.