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Wednesday, 20 January 2021 13:58

Drake's free throws secure win in thriller against Lumberton

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Freshman Javian Drake hit a pair of free throws with 0.4 seconds left to earn the win Tuesday. Freshman Javian Drake hit a pair of free throws with 0.4 seconds left to earn the win Tuesday. Deon Cranford - The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — With just 0.4 ticks left in regulation in Tuesday’s junior varsity boys’ basketball game, Javian Drake went to the free throw line for the Richmond Raiders.

Richmond and visiting Lumberton High School were tied at 71 points, and the freshman knocked down both shots to give the Raiders the two point win, 73-71.

Those game-winning shots were the end of an exciting final couple of minutes between the two Sandhills Athletic Conference teams, which saw Richmond hold on to remain undefeated at 3-0.

Entering the game, second-year head coach Kenta Hutchinson said he wanted to prepare the Raiders for a competitive Lumberton squad.

“I told the guys we would find out what type of team we really were with this matchup,” he explained. “Lumberton always comes to play and they compete at a high level. You can never take these guys lightly because they have really good athletes just like we do.

“Since 2018 when I started out as an assistant on JV, we’ve split every year,” he added “This matchup always excites me because I know Lumberton is going to leave everything on the floor and all I asked of our guys was to compete and match their energy, which they did.”

Drake scored a team-high 18 points in the win for the Raiders, connecting on three triples in the game. Sophomores Zay Wall and Zay Hubbard each hit double figures, netting 16 and 14 points, respectively. Hubbard led the team with four three-pointers.

Fellow sophomore Emoni McBride also poured on the points, adding 11 points for Richmond. Freshman Toby McInnis and sophomore Zion Baldwin tacked on six points each, and freshman Tristan Wall rounded out the scoring with two points.

A fast start by Richmond saw the Raiders net the game’s first five points. McInnins notched his six points in the opening eight minutes, all coming on field goals. But Lumberton rallied to take a 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Hutchinson’s team regrouped in the second and outscored the Pirates by three points to regain the edge, 33-31. Drake scored seven points in the second, drilling a three-pointer and adding two field goals. Hubbard followed with five points, including the first of his triples.

At the break, Drake led the field with 10 points and McInnis was second on the team with six points. Baldwin and Hubbard each secured the lead with five points in the opening two stanzas.

Out of the locker room, momentum swung back in the Pirates’ favor, seeing the visitors take a 48-46 lead after three complete. Hubbard helped Richmond keep pace with a pair of triples that came eight seconds apart.

The final eight minutes saw Richmond go down by its largest deficit, eight points, with 4:43 left in regulation. With Lumberton leading 57-52, the Raiders’ offense answered back with six straight points in a minute to take a one-point advantage.

Richmond worked itself out to a 69-64 lead with 37 seconds left in the game. But two quick fumbles by the Raiders led to four easy points for Lumberton. Those buckets cut Richmond’s lead to 69-68 with 21.3 ticks left.

Following a couple more points from each team to knot the game at 71 points, Drake delivered the hammer to seal the deal. Hutchinson noted Drake “has a high motor and has been consistent offensively and defensively” so far this season.

“Zay Wall and Zay Hubbard are two-year guys and I’ve been waiting for them to turn it up a notch and they gave me just that tonight,” Hutchinson said. “They both shoot the ball really well and came up big in the clutch. Both have a really good IQ for the game.” 

“We still have a lot to work on, especially closing games out,” Hutchinson closed. “But I’ll take the win over anything.”

The JV Raiders will return to action on Friday at home against Purnell Swett High School. Opening tip is set for 7 p.m.

Deon Cranford and Kyle Pillar contributed to this article.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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