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Basketball: Both Wildcats teams aiming for state run
Both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will play at home on Saturday in a bid to win spots in the GHSA Class 7A state tournament.

Richmond Hill’s boys' and girls' basketball teams will be looking to gain a berth in the GHSA Class 7A state tournament when they face Colquitt County and Valdosta, respectively, on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the Region 1-7A tournament.

Both games will be at home with Coach Sarah Brown’s girls (15-10, 2-6) taking on Valdosta (14-11, 0-8) at 3 p.m. and Coach Bill Henderson’s boys' team (4-21, 2-6) squaring off against Colquitt County (4-18, 0-8) at 4:30.

Richmond Hill will be the home team thanks to its fourth-place finishes in the regular season region race. Each will be looking for their third win of the season against their respective opponents who were fifth in the five-team region.

The boys won at Colquitt, 61-51, and then pulled out a 48-46 squeaker at home. Henderson said the big challenge facing his team is getting off to a good start against the Packers.

“Colquitt plays extremely hard and I know Coach (Andy) Harden will have them ready to play,” Henderson said. “We are going to have to make sure we come out and are relentless from the opening tip.

“We have started slow at times this year,” Henderson said. “Hopefully we can avoid that. I think playing at home will help with that.”

In addition to slow starts or in-game lapses that saw deficits balloon rapidly, the Wildcats have had issues rebounding on the defensive boards. Henderson said that’s an area in which his team is going to have to do a better job if it is to return to the state playoffs for the first time in three years.

Richmond Hill’s last state tournament run was in the 20-21 season when it advanced to the Elite Eight while posting a 21-4 record.

Jones is in her 11th season and has taken her teams to the state playoffs seven times including six of the last seven years. They missed out in 2022 during that run.

“The key for us is playing a consistent game from start to finish, executing and taking care of the ball,” Jones said. “The girls are going to have to fight from the jump to the final buzzer.

“It’s really important to be at home and not have to make the long bus trip for an important game. You always try to stay out of the four-five play-in game but being in it it’s important that we are fourth and can play in front of our crowd.”

The Wildcats beat Valdosta 41-37 at home and then went on the road and posted a dominant 48-34 win. In the first go round Richmond Hill trailed 16-12 at the half but surged in the third quarter to grab a lead it never relinquished. At Valdosta it was just the opposite as the Wildcats led 26-12 at the half and went on a 16-10 run in the third quarter to break it wide open.  

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