Home Local Sports Top Sports Stories No. 9: Raider basketball knocks off Seventy-First, begins turnaround

Top Sports Stories No. 9: Raider basketball knocks off Seventy-First, begins turnaround

The No. 9 top sports story included four double-digit scorers to defeat Seventy-First in mid-January.
Deon Cranford — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Dribbling its way into the No. 9 spot on the ROSports “Top 10 Sports Stories” countdown of the 2018-19 school year is the Richmond Senior High School boys’ basketball team.

Under the direction of second-year head coach Donald Pettigrew, the Raiders saw their 2018-19 campaign get off to a slow start, including an 0-4 run to begin Sandhills Athletic Conference play.

But his team sparked a major turnaround in the middle of January, which saw it ride an eight-game SAC winning streak, the first time that had happened in 22 years.

The No. 9 moment came in the second win of that streak, when the Raiders took it to Seventy-First High School and used four double-digit scorers to defeat the Falcons 75-71 on the road. The victory marked the first time since 2004 Richmond walked out of Seventy-First’s gym with a win.


Senior Rod Newton had a team-high 19 points, while sophomore Nygie Stroman started his strong second half of the season with a 16-point performance. Sophomore Caleb Hood added 13 points, while senior Xavier Pettigrew chipped in 12 points.

Defeating the Falcons at that point of the season didn’t do much for Richmond in the SAC standings, but over the course of the next month, the Raiders would close the season on a 9-1 run against conference opponents. It was a pivotal moment in the team’s season, which Pettigrew called “electric.”

Competing for an SAC tournament championship, the Raiders fell just short to the Falcons, seeing the game come down to the last 10 seconds. Richmond also made it back to the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs, beating Hickory Ridge High School in a first-round home game.

Click the photo below for the link to the original game story, written by sports editor Kyle Pillar for the Jan. 16, 2019, edition of the Richmond Observer: