Thursday, 05 December 2019 23:58

'Defensive energy' helps Raiders to fourth-straight win in SAC opener

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Senior Jarvis Tillman (35) hits a jumper for two of his game-high 15 points in Richmond's SAC opening win. Senior Jarvis Tillman (35) hits a jumper for two of his game-high 15 points in Richmond's SAC opening win. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior High School’s head boys’ basketball coach Donald Pettigrew promised this year would be different.

And the Raiders upheld that promise during Thursday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference opener, as they rolled past Purnell Swett High School 61-34 to win their fourth consecutive game to start the year.

The early going this season is much different for Pettigrew and the Raiders, who went 1-5 last winter, including a disappointing 78-74 road loss to the Rams to open SAC play. It’s the first time since 2011 the Raiders have won their first four games.

Senior Jarvis Tillman would finish as the game’s leading scorer, dropping 15 points, a new season high for the 6-4 forward. Also having an impressive night from beyond the arc were PJ McLaughlin and Quamir Sivels, both of whom netted 14 points and hit three three-pointers.

“This was a big win for us to start conference 1-0,” Pettigrew said. “It’s always good to start that way. I thought we shot the ball better in the first quarter than we have in the other three games. 

“I tell people all the time we can shoot the ball,” he continued. “We started off fast with PJ and Quamir and that helped us early. They’ve been doing that all summer, and tonight they found their rhythm and knocked a lot of shots down.”

All four of Richmond’s first baskets of the game were three-pointers, seeing Sivels bang home triples on back-to-back possessions. McLaughlin added a three from the top of the key before Sivels rang home another with just over four minutes to go in the frame.

Leading 14-7, Tillman got his night started by recording Richmond’s final six points of the quarter. He completed an and-one opportunity before hitting a mid-range jumper off the glass to give the Raiders a 20-11 lead.

McLaughlin and Tillman both netted six more points in the second stanza, and Stroman joined the scoring parade with five points. The Raiders (4-0, 1-0 SAC) used a 20-5 run in the second to open the game up.

McLaughlin sandwiched two three-pointers around a Stroman drive, and Sivels connected on the back end of an and-one opportunity. Tillman recorded the final four points for the Raiders, making a jumper in transition and kissing another shot off the glass.

Leading 40-16 at the break, both Sivels and Tillman had 12 first-half points. Purnell Swett’s Nolan Locklear, who started off the bench, tallied six points to lead the Rams.

Purnell Swett would use 10 combined points from Locklear, McKinley Richardson, Isaiah Santos and Micah Carter to outscore the Raiders 10-9 in the third quarter. Tillman had three points and Sivels, Stroman and McLaughlin all added two.

Tillman was also a big defensive presence for the Raiders, collecting six rebounds and blocking eight shots. One of his blocks came at the buzzer at the end of the third quarter, swatting an Austin Chavis attempt into the seats to maintain a 49-26 lead.

“Our defensive energy was great tonight,” Pettigrew said. “Jarvis is amazing and you can’t teach what he does. A college coach would love to have him because he’s so long and can block shots and get rebounds.

“We do need to do a better job of collecting those blocks so we can get more opportunities to score,” he added.

Coming off the bench for the Raiders in the fourth quarter was sophomore guard Deshon Watson, who scored nine of Richmond’s 12 points. He kickstarted his run with a three-pointer from the wing before adding three buckets on drives through the paint. McLaughlin added a layup in transition off a Sivels steal and a free throw.

Purnell Swett’s Garyan Maynor provided some late-game fireworks with a breakaway one-handed jam for the final points of the game. Stroman led the Raiders with seven boards and added a block.

Locklear would end his night with a team-high 12 points for the Rams (0-4), while Jaston Williamson’s five points were second best. 

Sitting undefeated at 4-0, Pettigrew said his team’s focus will shift to supporting the Raider football team during Friday’s West regional championship. “Go Raiders,” he closed with a smile.

Up next for Richmond will be non-conference Cheraw High School (1-0) at home on Tuesday. Game time is expected for a 7:30 p.m. start following the varsity girls’ game.

Last modified on Friday, 06 December 2019 00:06

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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