Sunday, 18 October 2020 19:24

Late efforts not enough as Raiders drop first game of fall season

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Nygie Stroman (85) and Dylan Lewis (72) were two of Richmond's top contributors in Saturday's loss. Nygie Stroman (85) and Dylan Lewis (72) were two of Richmond's top contributors in Saturday's loss. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

FAYETTEVILLE — A pair of scoring droughts didn’t help the Richmond Raiders as they looked to stay undefeated in the 9 Dime Fall League on Saturday.


Entering play against Northside (Pine Forest High School), the Raiders and head coach Maurice McLaurin were atop the league’s standings and the only program not to drop a game through the first four weeks of play.

That changed against the Trojans, as a 10-point lead in the first half was undone, resulting in a 49-45 loss. A push during the final two minutes of regulation saw Richmond draw within a couple of points, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.

“The guys continued to get after it even when they were down, and that was good to see,” McLaurin said after the game. “The guys know the mistakes that were made and we’ll focus on correcting those.

“The biggest thing they weren’t doing was talking,” he added. “We have to communicate better and get back on defense. Those are the two things we need to improve on to get where we want to get.”

Senior shooting guard Dylan Lewis led the Raiders with 14 points in the game, the only Richmond player to hit double digits. Senior point guard Patrick McLaughlin, who had 19 points last week, finished with nine points, seven of which came in the second half.

Another contributor for Richmond was senior forward Nygie Stroman, who joined the team after missing last week. He added eight points and led the team with six rebounds. Sophomore guard Dakota Chavis chipped in six points and junior guard Deshon Watson netted five points.

Two triples each from Lewis and Stroman, along with two drives from Chavis gave the Raiders an early lead. Watson was fouled on a three-point attempt, and after he made all three shots from the foul line, the Raiders led 20-10 with 10:50 left in the first half.

A fast start went cold for Richmond, as Northside used a 10-4 run to close the half and cut its deficit to just four points at the break.

Chavis started the second half with a hard drive through the paint, and Lewis added a shot off the glass to keep the Raiders ahead by five points. But Northside used a 9-4 run to open the half to take the lead 29-28 with 14:50 left in regulation.

It was a lead that Richmond wouldn’t be able to catch the rest of the game, as both squads traded buckets down the stretch. The largest deficit the Raiders faced was six points.

Lewis pulled Richmond closer when he rattled home a three-pointer and added the and-one opportunity to make it a 36-34 game. Junior wing Xavier Collazo hit a mid-range jumper on Richmond’s next possession, his lone points of the game, to keep the Raiders within two points.

McLaurin called a timeout with 1:54 left on the clock and the Richmond defense applied full-court pressure against the Trojans. Free throws from McLaughlin and Stroman kept the score within a couple of baskets in the final 90 seconds.

McLaughlin added two more shots from the charity stripe with 10.9 seconds left making it a 47-43 game. The ensuing inbound from Northside went out of bounds and the Raiders had a chance to close the gap.

A Chavis three-pointer was just off the mark with 6.2 ticks on the clock and Northside closed the door with a pair of free throws. McLaughlin drove the length of the court and added the final bucket at the buzzer.

“Our motto is next man up. The next man should be able to come in the game and pick up where the others left off,” McLaurin said. “At the outset today, we weren’t ready to play and that stings a little bit.

“There was a lack in our focus and we need to develop that killer mentality,” he closed. “Once we get a team down, we need to be able to put them away and not let them back in the game.”

The 9 Dime Fall League’s regular season will conclude on Tuesday, with Richmond (4-1) playing host New Life Christian Academy. Tip is set for 6 p.m. and the playoffs will begin Saturday.

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_