Wednesday, 29 January 2020 00:01

Raiders drop nail-biter to Pinecrest, split season series

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Senior Jarvis Tillman (35) scored 17 points and recorded 12 boards in Tuesday's loss to Pinecrest. Senior Jarvis Tillman (35) scored 17 points and recorded 12 boards in Tuesday's loss to Pinecrest. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

SOUTHERN PINES — There’s something about the game coming down to the wire when the Richmond and Pinecrest boys’ basketball teams meet.

The Raiders and Patriots met for the second time this season on Tuesday in front of a playoff-like atmosphere, and just like the first game on Dec. 13, the outcome was decided in the final seconds and was a one-possession game.

Unfortunately for the Raiders and head coach Donald Pettigrew, Richmond was on the losing side of a 48-45 decision. In the first meeting, the Raiders held on for a 53-50 win.

In the closing minute of the fourth quarter, the Raiders pulled within one point, 46-45, when junior point guard PJ McLaughlin drove the paint for a basket. Following a turnover by both teams in the following sequences, the Raiders committed a foul and sent Bradlee Haskell to the line.

The Patriots were in the bonus due to nine team fouls by Richmond, and Haskell landed both ends of a one-and-one opportunity for the game’s final points with 9.4 seconds left.

On the ensuing inbound, Pinecrest fouled McLaughlin, but had fouls to give. Again the Raiders inbounded the ball and McLaughlin shot a contested three-pointer with a couple ticks on the clock, but the ball was off the mark. The Patriots secured a bouncing ball to lock up the win.

“The atmosphere was great and I told the guys to enjoy the moment,” Pettigrew said afterward. “All the guys played hard and the basketball atmosphere is why we do what we do. Both teams’ fans were great and it was an exciting game.”

Senior forward Jarvis Tillman, who has been quiet the last handful of games for Richmond, provided an offensive spark despite the loss. The 6-7 big man netted a team-high 17 points, while adding 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Tillman got off to a fast start, netting 11 of Richmond’s 15 points in the first quarter, before chipping in four more before the halftime break.

“It’s big for us going forward,” Pettigrew said of Tillman finding his groove. “I told the guys losing conference games is tough, but Tillman played awesome. He got after it defensively with blocks and he shot the ball with confidence.”

Junior wing Caleb Hood also had a strong performance, netting 12 points and picking up six rebounds. Fellow junior Nygie Stroman was just shy of a double-double, scoring nine points and eight rebounds.

For the Patriots, JJ Goins scored a team-high 16 points, while Will Bode and Haskell contributed 10 and nine points, respectively.

In the first quarter, Tillman scored the first five points for Richmond on a field goal and a three-pointer from the top of the arc. Three more field goals in the closing 3:30, including a deep two, gave the Raiders a 15-12 advantage.

Hood and Stroman both got on the board with two points apiece in the first eight minutes.

But a lapse on offense in the second quarter saw the Raiders outscored 22-9 before the break. Goins recorded 10 points in the frame, while Bode added six points. 

Besides a free throw from junior Dylan Lewis, only a Tillman turnaround jumper in the paint provided Richmond any points in the opening 4:45 of the second. McLaughlin, who finished with six points, scored four in the second for the Raiders on a deep two and a transition bucket.

At the break, Pinecrest led 34-24 thanks to a three-pointer from Goins just before the buzzer.

In the third, Richmond would cut its deficit to a little as four points, 36-32, with the help of a pair of free throws from Hood. But an 8-2 Patriots run in the final three minutes gave the home team another 10-point lead entering the fourth, 44-34.

To put McLaughlin in position to attempt the game-tying shot, Hood and Stroman opened the fourth on a 9-0 spurt. Capping the run was a Stroman contested three-pointer from the right corner with 2:12 remaining in regulation.

“I think we settled a little bit and we weren’t feeding the ball inside as much,” Pettigrew said of the slow scoring in the middle quarters. “But we cut the lead to four, went down by 10 again, and then came within one point -- I’m proud of our fight tonight.

“Caleb was big for us tonight and he battled against some fouls that weren’t called,” he continued.

With the loss, Richmond’s record moved to 13-6 overall and 6-3 against SAC opponents. Pinecrest (17-2, 8-1 SAC) remained atop the conference standings.

The Raiders slipped to fourth in the standings, but Pettigrew remained optimistic his team can maintain its fight in the upper half of the conference.

“There are a lot worse things going on in the world than losing a basketball game,” Pettigrew reflected. “We’re here to make memories and build young men and their character.

“The sun will come up tomorrow and we’ll get ready to continue conference play and the conference tournament,” he closed. “Now we’re fighting for third so we’ll continue to practice and play hard and have fun.”

The Raiders will welcome in seventh-place Jack Britt High School (4-14, 1-7 SAC) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 January 2020 00:09

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_