Wednesday, 09 January 2019 00:02

Raiders fall to Hoke County 54-49 despite fourth-quarter lead

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Members of the Raider bench celebrate during the first quarter following Rod Newton's (far right) 11-point outburst. Members of the Raider bench celebrate during the first quarter following Rod Newton's (far right) 11-point outburst. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior High School varsity boys basketball team has been focused on trying to get better each game -- and despite falling in another close Sandhills Athletic Conference battle Tuesday night, the Raiders put up another tough fight.

Richmond and head coach Donald Pettigrew welcomed in the visiting Hoke County High School Bucks, and in a game that came down to the final seconds, the Raiders (5-9, 0-4 SAC) came up just short to the Bucks (9-4, 2-2 SAC), losing 54-49.

It was the second time in five days that the Raiders fell by just five points, as they also lost to Jack Britt High School 42-37 on Friday. Even though his team didn’t hold onto a small fourth-quarter lead, Pettigrew praised the team’s defense and ability to overcome an early deficit.

“We were down by eight points (in the third quarter) and the guys fought back and took a lead,” Pettigrew said in the locker room after the game. “They did a great job of fighting back, so I’m disappointed for them to fight so hard and still come up on the losing end.

“It’s a process, and we’re taking baby steps,” he continued. “We’re continuing to get better. It was another game where we held another team to just over 50 points. Defensively, we’re getting better, but we just have to start scoring more.”

The Bucks opened the game on a 7-0 run, but one Raider player single-handedly took control of the first quarter. Senior shooting guard Rod Newton netted Richmond’s first bucket, a mid-range jumper, at the 4:36 mark of the opening quarter, and went on a spree of scoring his team’s first 11 points.

His next three baskets all came from beyond the three-point line, as he gave the Raiders the lead, 11-10, after he hit back-to-back triples in transition from either side of the floor. The Bucks regained their footing and ended the final minute with a 6-0 run to retake a 17-11 lead.

Richmond added 13 points in the second frame, eventually taking a 24-22 lead following a pair of triples from sophomore point guard Patrick McLaughlin and senior forward Xavier Pettigrew.

But five points from Hoke County’s Elijah Davis Harris, who netted a game-high 22 points, and a pair of free throws by Jaquantae Harris, gave the visiting team a 29-24 halftime lead.

Out of the break, the Richmond defense locked down the Hoke County shooters, limiting them to just seven points in the third quarter. Brothers Caleb (sophomore) and Kellan Hood (freshman) opened Richmond’s scoring with back-to-back buckets, and seven combined made free throws late in the quarter by McLaughlin, Pettigrew and sophomore Nygie Stroman saw the game tied at 36 points.

Stroman attempted a putback dunk on a rebound and was fouled in the process, and his one made free throw tied the game with 14.3 seconds left. Senior Raider Alex Quick made a splash defensive play to end the quarter as he made a swatting block on Nicholaus Adams with just three ticks on the clock.

The Raiders went used a 13-0 run to end the third and begin the fourth quarter to take a five-point lead, 41-36, with just over 5:30 to play in the final frame. But the Bucks worked their way back into the mix, as six made free throws by Adams, Davis Harris and Angel Dean tied the game at 46 points.

A drive in the paint by Jaquantae Harris with 2:15 to go gave Hoke County a slim two-point lead, and one it wouldn’t give away the rest of the game. Richmond began a full court press during the final two minutes, as Hoke County connected four more free throws after the Raiders were forced to foul.

Adams sealed the deal for the visiting team when he made a steal around half court and finished the wide open layup with three seconds left in regulation.

Adding to Davis Harris’ game-high 22 points were nine points from Tristan Little and eight more by Jaquantae Harris. After his electric 11-point first quarter, Newton added only one free throw the rest of the game to end with a team-high 12 points. Quick tallied nine points, Pettigrew tacked on eight of his own, while McLaughlin and Stroman each had seven points.

“Rod had it going on in the first quarter and we tried to shake up the lineup a little bit tonight,” Pettigrew shared, noting the Hood brothers and Antonio Isaac’s starting roles. “Rod is a shooter and he’s a big spark plug for us.

“I wanted to try and get Kellan started offensively,” he concluded. “He had a big summer and he’s still learning the process of playing varsity basketball.”

The Raiders will return to SAC action Friday when they travel to Lumberton High School to face the Pirates (10-3, 3-1 SAC). Lumberton defeated Pinecrest High School 64-59 Tuesday, and now sit atop of the SAC standings. Tip off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Last modified on Thursday, 10 January 2019 00:24
Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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