Sunday, 07 March 2021 20:12

Richmond lands 3 Raiders, 2 Lady Raiders on All-SAC basketball teams

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ROCKINGHAM — The Sandhills Athletic Conference announced its 2020-21 all-conference basketball teams this week following the exit of all of its schools from the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.

Richmond Senior High School had five total players named across the two squads, starting with senior Lady Raiders Jakerra Covington and Jayla McDougald. For the Raiders, two seniors in Patrick McLaughlin and Nygie Stroman, along with freshman Paul McNeil, were selected.

Covington, McDougald each earn second career selection

Ending their Richmond basketball careers with a bang, Covington and McDougald were named to their second respective All-SAC team. Covington earned a spot during her sophomore and senior seasons, while McDougald was picked as a junior and a senior.

Jayla McDougald, senior point guard

As the team’s point guard, McDougald averaged 15.0 points per game, which was the highest on the team and tied for second amongst all SAC players, according to MaxPreps. Purnell Swett’s Natalie Evington averaged 15 PPG and Jack Britt’s Ashara Hayes led the conference with 15.3 PPG.

A threat from beyond the arc, McDougald was also second in the SAC in total three-pointers made with 24. Evington made 31 triples, and McDougald impressed with a 42% shooting percentage from downtown. Against Scotland High School on Feb. 12, McDougald tied her career high with 25 points.

“Jayla is a fierce competitor,” head coach Teddy Moseley said. “And she developed into a great scorer who definitely leads by example.”

Jakerra Covington, senior forward

Covington proved to be a dominant force in the paint for Richmond, averaging 7.8 points per game (third highest on the team) and collected a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game. She had 42 defensive boards and 22 offensive rebounds.

But what Moseley said made Covington an asset to the team was what she did in between the baskets.

“Jakerra does all the intangible things,” Moseley explained. “She rebounds, creates turnovers and scores as well. She was very big down the stretch for us and helped us some key wins.”

The Lady Raiders finished the shortened season with a 7-5 overall record and a 5-4 mark against SAC opponents. Richmond finished fifth in the conference standings and just missed making the 4A state playoffs.

Jack Britt’s Nyla Cooper was named player of the year, while the Lady Buccaneers’ Natalie McArthur earned coach of the year.

Core group of Raiders headline All-SAC team

Nygie Stroman, senior forward

For the Raiders and head coach Donald Pettigrew, Stroman nabbed his third-straight All-SAC selection, completing his varsity career with the postseason accolade all three years. He averaged 13.5 PPG and grabbed 7.8 RPG, both second on the team behind McNeil, while shooting 67% from the field.

A threat from down low and from three-point land, Stroman shot 39% from beyond the arc and made 15 triples in 11 games, tied for fourth in the SAC. He netted 25 points in both of Richmond’s road playoff games this winter, his best performances of the season.

“Nygie has been big for us the last three years,” Pettigrew said. “He comes to play and has been a leader on the team. He’s been one of the top players the last three years and it’s been great having him. We’re going to miss him next year.”

Patrick McLaughlin, senior point guard

McLaughlin’s senior season was plagued by injury, but that didn’t stop the three-year starting point guard from earning his second consecutive All-Conference nod. Playing in 10 of Richmond’s 13 games, McLaughlin averaged 9.2 points per game, led the team with 4.3 assists per contest and averaged 3.0 boards per game.

McLaughlin scored eight or more points in six games, and netted a season-high 17 points in a 68-64 win over Hoke County on Feb. 2. He was clutch from the free throw line this year, knocking down 66% of his shots.

“P.J. works so hard, and he’s made a lot of good changes the last three years,” Pettigrew noted. “A lot of games he played hurt, but he’s a tough player and that shows his leadership and character.

“He always put his team first and himself second. We’ll miss that and we’ve really appreciated his efforts the last three years.”

Paul McNeil, freshman shooting guard

McNeil exploded onto the varsity scene in his freshman year, leading the SAC in scoring with 18.1 points per game and added 8.2 rebounds per game, fourth best in the conference. He had double figures in nine games, and scored 20 or more points six times.

Against Hoke County on Feb. 2, McNeil scored a career-high 31 points, and he averaged 22.5 PPG in Richmond’s playoff run. He knocked down a team-high 21 triples this season and shot 40% from the arc, added a 69% shooting percentage from the field and hit 86% of his shots from the line.

McNeil’s PPG and RPG averages also led all members of the graduating class of 2024.

“As a freshman, averaging what he did, says how tough of a player he is,” Pettigrew said. “It also shows how special he’ll be for us the next three years.

“Paul shoots at a high rate and he’s big time for us,” he added. “We’ll look for more big games from him in the future, and he did a tremendous job this year.”

The Raiders finished third in the SAC this season with an 8-5 overall record and 5-2 in SAC play. Pettigrew and company advanced to their third straight second-round appearance in the 4A state playoffs.

Pinecrest’s Bradlee Haskell and Ben Snyder were named player and coach of the year, respectively.

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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