The Richmond Hill Lady Wildcats played host to the Long County Blue Tide and won their home opener of the 2023 season in convincing fashion, by a score of 42-8.
“I think that we did some things well there in the second half,” head basketball coach Sarah Jones said. “We progressed on what we did in the first half, and played much better the rest of the way.”
The first quarter started out with both teams getting on the board at 2-2, but the scoreboard was never really close after that, as MaKiyah Matthews would open up the scoring for the Lady Wildcats. Matthews would have a dominant game, as she scored several times, had a few steals and several fast break points against the Blue Tide.
Though the score was 12-2 after the first period, the game was much closer in the battle than the score would let on, as both teams were being chippy with one another, making points hard to come by for either team. That continued into the second, resulting in only a 5-2 scoring output for the entire period, which would take the Lady Wildcats’ lead into the break at 17-4. The Blue Tide would score both points from fouls.
“We were worried a bit too much in the first half about the uncontrollables,” Jones said. “We were just concerned with the wrong thing and that took us out of our element and away from our game. The players had a discussion after the coaches left the locker room and they settled themselves down in the second half.”
The Lady Wildcats seemed like a different team after the break, as they came out firing on all cylinders. No matter what the Blue Wave threw at them, they would not be rattled in the second half, as they would outscore Long County 12-3 in the third.
Jada Brown played a key part in the refocus of the team, as she hit a three-pointer and made several other great plays to put Richmond Hill in place to secure the lead. Matthews would add two more to open the first minute of the fourth with five quick points before Long called a timeout.
The Lady Wildcats swarmed on the ball all night, and that may not have been more evident than in the fourth period, where they only allowed one point, outsourcing their opponent 13-1. Mmekom Inyang played a huge role on defense, as she was all over the court and routinely in the face of the members of the Blue Tide.
“That is a non-negotiable for us,” Jones said. “We work on defense every day. There may be games where we do not score as much, and the only way to stay in the game is by playing defense. We harp on that big time and we make sure that we are playing it in a disciplined manner. We want to execute in everything we do and make sure we do our jobs.”
The Richmond Hill girls and boys’ basketball teams will travel to Statesboro to take on the Blue Devils on November 21. Tip-off is set for 5pm.