Thursday, 12 December 2019 23:44

Massey bowls 'hot hand' for Raiders, Lady Raiders continue to improve

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Senior Mitchell Massey had a team-high 15 strikes in his 24 frames during Thursday's SAC bowling matches. Senior Mitchell Massey had a team-high 15 strikes in his 24 frames during Thursday's SAC bowling matches. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

FAYETTEVILLE — Picking up spares and closing out frames is something Richmond Senior High School head bowling coach Ralph Butler has worked on with his teams the past few weeks.

And he saw the practice time pay dividends during Thursday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference meet at B&B Bowling Lanes.

Competing in their third SAC match of the season, the Raiders and Lady Raiders would face off against Jack Britt and Purnell Swett high schools. The boys would split their matches, defeating Purnell Swett, while the Lady Raiders would come up just short in both of their contests.

Bowling against the Rams in their second match of the day, the Raiders rolled their way to a 4-1 win, beating Purnell Swett by a total pin count of 507-456. The boys took the first three games 130-111, 125-115 and 137-105 before dropping the last game 115-125.

Mitchell Massey was the go-to bowler for the Raiders, as the senior served as the Raiders’ anchor in the fifth and 10th frames. He finished the day by closing 19-of-24 frames (79 percent), with a team-high 15 strikes (63 percent).

“We’ve been doing some full-rack spare work at every practice,” Butler said. “The focus has been the 7 and 10 pins, and then working on the 4-7 and 6-10 splits. Both teams have been doing a better job at closing out frames.

“We talked about not just raising our high scores, but also eliminating our games in the 90s,” he added. “Today was a much better effort with that and we want to see our low scores be around 120. Mitchell was unbelievable for us and he rode his hot hand all night, which helped carry the team.”

Also having a productive day closing out frames were sophomore Cameron Way and junior Hunter Hancock. Way finished 6-of-12 (50 percent) and Hancock was right behind him at 5-for-12 (42 percent).

Against Jack Britt, a program Butler called “one of the best in the conference,” the Raiders saw a near comeback come up just shy. Richmond split the four games with the Buccaneers 117-161, 159-148, 124-164 and posted a match-high 191-136. But Jack Britt would earn the 3-2 win with a total pin count of 609-591.

Butler added that was the “match of the day” and that he was impressed with the Raiders pulling within 18 pins of defeating the No. 3 team in the conference. 

Over in the Lady Raiders’ lanes, the girls suffered a 1-4 loss to Jack Britt with scores of 104-180, 124-114, 103-136 and 159-161. The Lady Bucs won by a final pin count of 591-490. 

Against Purnell Swett, a much closer match, Richmond’s late rally came up short for a 3-2 loss to the Lady Rams. Splitting the four games 101-92, 104-118, 126-118 and 104-121, Purnell Swett outlasted Richmond 449-435 in the pin count.

Junior Josie Standridge was the Lady Raiders’ leader, closing out 8-of-14 frames (57 percent). Behind her were senior Hailey Miller with 6-of-12 (50 percent), senior Autumn Hoffman with 5-of-10 (50 percent) and Amber Henson with 5-of-12 (42 percent).

“Amber stepped up today and bowled really well,” Butler said. “She’s been bowling a better ball at practice and has helped us the last two matches. Hailey has adjusted well and is picking up the sport quickly.

“Autumn and Josie were on the team last year and they’re leading the team in closing out frames,” he closed. “Their experience has been helpful and they’ve been flip-flopping in the anchor spot.”

Richmond will return to the lanes next week and face Hoke County High School and another opponent to be decided. The matches will be held at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville and will begin at 4 p.m.

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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