Tuesday, 14 January 2020 22:54

Raiders edge Seventy-First to remain atop SAC standings

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Senior Quamir Sivels (3) completes a transition layup in his first game back from injury. Senior Quamir Sivels (3) completes a transition layup in his first game back from injury. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Sitting in his office after Tuesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference game at home against Seventy-First High School, Raiders’ head basketball coach Donald Pettigrew joked “a win is a win” no matter how it looked on the floor.

Looking to end a two-game skid, the Raiders did just that, handing the Falcons a 34-23 loss. Although it was Richmond’s lowest scoring performance in any game this season, win or lose, their defense locked in enough to allow the home team to earn a win.

It was Richmond’s third win against the Falcons (6-7, 2-3 SAC) in the last 10 meetings, in what was the first time the two teams have met since last year’s SAC tournament championship game, which the Falcons took.

Junior forward Nygie Stroman and junior point guard PJ McLaughlin led the way with nine points each in the victory. Adding eight points was senior wing Quamir Sivels, who made his return to the starting lineup after missing a handful of games with a heel injury.

“Defensively, we played well, but we missed too many easy buckets on offense,” Pettigrew shared after the game. “But if we keep playing defense the way we did tonight, we’re going to be fine.

“I tried to keep the guys tuned in tonight and not get too relaxed, which is something we’ve done the last couple games,” he added. “For the most part, they did that. The offense will come, but we picked it up with the full-court (press) on defense.”

McLaughlin, Sivels and Stroman would account for all nine of Richmond’s first quarter points. An early putback by Stroman was followed by a three-pointer by Sivels from the top of the key, his first shot since returning to action.

Stroman added another putback on his own rebound, and McLaughlin used his speed and scored a layup on an outlet pass from teammate Dylan Lewis in transition. The Raiders took a 9-8 lead into the second.

Ten more points from Richmond in the second stanza helped keep the Raiders ahead. Sivels netted his final five points, using a steal and a layup plus his second three-pointer of the game. 

Senior Jarvis Tillman would rattle home a triple, and a Stroman floater at the buzzer gave Richmond its largest first-half lead, 19-12, going into the locker room.

Seventy-First struggled to get up court against Richmond’s press, but freshman center Derrick Green would use his 6-7 frame down low to lead the team with nine points. He had four at the break and added five in the second half.

The Falcons made a 10-4 run in the third quarter, using four points from Green and field goals from Camilo Diaz, Emoni Howard and Ziare Parker to pull within one point, 23-22. Richmond’s four points came from an old-fashioned three-point play by McLaughlin and a Dalton Stroman free throw.

Pulling away in the final stanza behind an 11-1 run, the Raiders remained atop the SAC standings, a half a game ahead of of Pinecrest High School. McLaughlin would knock in four free throws in the final two minutes when Seventy-First was forced to foul.

Nygie Stroman drained his lone triple of the game from the right corner to provide some distance, and a Caleb Hood field goal, coupled with one free throw each from Lewis and Tillman sent the Raiders back to the win column.

Tillman was a big presence in the paint for Richmond, recording double-digit blocks, including two blocks on Parker in the final minutes of the game.

“It was a good team win tonight, and all 10 guys played at least five minutes,” Pettigrew said. “To have Quamir back, that just gives us another shooter when teams pack it in on us. When he gets going, he’s going to be tough to stop.

“It definitely feels good to be back in the win column and 5-1 in conference,” he closed. “We still control our own destiny and we’re going to take it one game at a time.”

Richmond (11-4, 5-1 SAC) will hit the road Friday for another SAC game against rival Scotland High School (5-7, 2-2 SAC). The game will begin around 7:30 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

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

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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