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After big win, Wildcats drop three
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After their first win of the season, against Bryan County, Richmond Hill had hopes of beginning on a road to more victories. Head coach Tom Morris had spoke of turning a corner, but that road and corner has proved a bit treacherous on this last leg of the season as the Wildcats fell to highly touted Liberty County 56-26 on Tuesday before being devastated at home Friday, in a game they had thought was win-able, at the hands of Benedictine 55-29.
At Friday’s game, the treachery came at the hands of Benedictine’s talented guard Jimmy Givens. Coach Morris started the game in an unusual defensive set called “the box and one”. Four of the Wildcats defenders played a zone box while Richmond Hill’s Chakiris Moss drew the unenviable task of guarding Givens on his own. In a spectacular display of shooting, Givens quickly put an end to the strategy and the Wildcats hopes of an upset.
Fourteen of the 18 first period points that Benedictine scored came off Givens fingertips. Superman couldn’t stop the Cadet guard that first period, and Moss did not have a chance. He started the first period run with a three pointer but managed to score on put backs, short jump shots, medium jump shots and at the free throw line. Meanwhile, Benedictine’s tight man defense was reeking havoc on the Wildcats’ offensive opportunities.
It was 18-2 after one period and 34-7 at the half. The seven points included a three point buzzer beater, as the first half expired by Richmond Hill’s Xavier Owens that finally gave the large crowd in attendance something to stand up and cheer about. It was a fore bearer of a better second half for the Wildcats, but the hole they had dug in the first was too big to fill in the second.
On Friday, the Wildcats were led by Melvin Johnson and Sean Szad with seven points a piece. On Tuesday, they faced off with Liberty County who now, after struggling early, has clawed their way to a three way tie for the 3-AAA South lead tied at 5-2 with Burke County and Hephzibah.
Richmond Hill has been holding their opponents to less points than they were early in the season. A sign that they are playing more disciplined defense and not giving up so many easy baskets. But something that still haunts them is the inability to keep up. The Wildcats scored only four points on only seven goal attempts in that first period on Tuesday. The 11-4 head start for the Panthers was all they needed to stretch the lead with every period that followed.
It was 28-12 at the half and 44-19 after three periods, and there were a variety of Panthers doing the damage.
Only one player scored in double figures, but eleven players graced the scoreboard at some point. For Richmond Hill, Chakiris Moss led with 9 points while Darien Cothern added 6 points.
The next day, Richmond Hill travelled to Waynesboro and lost 79-35 to a tough Burke County team.
The team will now travel to Hephzibah Friday, February 2 for a 6 p.m. start, then will be back home Saturday night for a rematch with Metter at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, February 6 the Wildcats travel to Portal for a 6 p.m. start.
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