Friday, 21 February 2020 12:54

SAC championship on for Friday, No. 3 Raiders seeking title

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Junior Caleb Hood completes a dunk during the second half of the Raiders' win over Lumberton on Wednesday. Junior Caleb Hood completes a dunk during the second half of the Raiders' win over Lumberton on Wednesday. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior High School boys’ basketball team will look to finish its sweep through the Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament on Friday.

Although Richmond and Moore counties saw their first snow accumulation in two years on Thursday, which canceled classes for students in both districts Friday, the decision was made for the No. 3 Raiders and No. 1 Pinecrest High School to play the championship game as scheduled.

Richmond athletic director Rob Ransom confirmed the game was a go around 10 a.m. in a text message to ROSports.

The Raiders (19-7) and head coach Donald Pettigrew are in a familiar situation heading into the game, and are hoping for a different outcome. Last season, also as the three seed, Richmond lost the SAC title game to Seventy-First High School.

Now the Raiders will make the trip to Southern Pines and play the Patriots (23-3), who won the regular season conference title. It will be the third time the two neighboring county foes play this year, having split the season series with each home team earning a three-point win.

In the first meeting on Dec. 13, the Raiders etched out a 53-50 win. Junior wing Caleb Hood collected his only block on the night, swatting a shot attempt from Bradlee Haskell with less than five seconds left in the game.

The game-saving block kept the Raiders up by one point, and senior shooting guard Quamir Sivels drained a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds left to ice the win.

The second meeting on Jan. 28 went the other way, seeing Haskell hit a pair of free throws with 9.4 seconds left to give the Patriots a 48-45 win. That game, Pettigrew noted, was a “playoff-like atmosphere,” and is something the Raiders will be prepared for in the third meeting.

During their current run through the SAC tournament, the Raiders have defeated No. 6 Purnell Swett and No. 2 Lumberton high schools. Richmond eliminated a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Rams on Tuesday, before upsetting and snapping a two-game skid to the Pirates.

The Raiders are clicking on all cylinders heading into the title game, as Hood has emerged as a force during the tournament. He scored a team-high 17 points against Purnell Swett and hit the game-tying layup and go-ahead free throw in the win. He added 21 points and 14 boards in the win over Lumberton.

Sivels is also hot of late, netting a career-high 26 points in the road win at Lumberton. He was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line and has found his rhythm from beyond the arc. Junior point guard PJ McLaughlin and junior forward Nygie Stroman have also been big contributors around the basket and on defense.

The winner of the SAC championship will be decided Friday, as tipoff is set for 6 p.m. Follow ROSports on Twitter @ROSports_ for live updates.

Kyle Pillar

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

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