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Boys' basketball: Richmond Hill lose to Colquitt Co., 42-37

The third time was not the charm for Richmond Hill’s boys. The home team last Saturday were denied an opportunity to play in the GHSA Class 7A state basketball tournament by Colquitt County, who eked out a 42-37 win at Wildcats Arena.

Richmond Hill had beaten the Packers twice during the regular season thus earning the opportunity to play at home in the Region 7A play-off game. A win would have given them a minimum of three more games—two in the region tournament and at least an opening round game in the state playoffs—but it wasn’t to be.

“We had some opportunities but didn’t take advantage of them,” Coach Bill Henderson said. “Coming into the game I thought we had played better in the second half of the season and were trending in the right direction.

“Now we’ve got to regroup and take a look at what we’ve got to do to get better. I’m disappointed for our seniors and I’m disappointed we’re not going to be in the region and state tournaments. It would have been a great experience for our younger guys and let us see how much we’ve improved.”

Bryce Hendricks scored 20 points for the Wildcats in a game which was not decided until the final minute.

Colquitt jumped out to a 6-0 lead but Richmond Hill led 12-8 after the first quarter and was up 14-11 when the Packers scored six straight points to take a lead which they never relinquished.

 The Wildcats were their own worst enemy over the course of the game as they had a miserable day at the foul line, making only five of 17 attempts and were 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.

 “Those are two things that have been a thorn in our side all season,” Henderson said of the shooting woes. “We’ve struggled at the free throw line and from the 3-point line all year.

“I can’t complain about the effort. It was there,” Henderson said. “The kids played hard but those missed opportunities came back to bite us.

 “Defensively I thought we did a good job. When you hold a team in the 40s your defense has done a good job.”

The Packers led 21-16 at the half and then pushed it to nine points, 25-16, when Hendricks broke a three-minute scoreless drought, taking a long pass from Skyler Riley who had rebounded a Colquitt miss and scored on a fast break layup.

Fouled on the play Hendricks missed the free throw which, unfortunately, was a harbinger of things to come.

The Wildcats twice cut the deficit to one point, the last time at 37-36, and had an opportunity to take the lead only to turn the ball over. An aggressive defense then saw its effort fail when Jakari Byrde hit a shot with two seconds left on the shot clock with just under a minute to play.

Now down 39-36, Richmond Hill had one last chance to even the score when Hendricks was fouled on a 3-point attempt. With 29 seconds on the clock, the senior lefthander made his first free throw but missed the next two. He was 2-of-9 at the charity stripe on the day.

With the Wildcats now forced to foul, Carson Harden made three of four free throws to seal the deal for the Packers.

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