Head coach William Altman’s emotions during last weeks Savannah Holiday Classic basketball tournament went from frustration and disappointment to being very proud of his team.
After losing a one point game to Calvary on Thursday the Wildcats were routed by Jenkins on Friday but fought back from an eight point deficit on Saturday to beat Midland Valley 70-61.
The win gives Richmond Hill a 4-6 record as they head home for Christmas break and, more importantly for Altman and his Wildcats, a boost in confidence going in to the new year.
After the Thursday night game, a 57-56 loss to Calvary, the coach and his players were distraught over playing a game so well and not getting a win.
That game may have still been on their minds when they took the court Friday.
Facing a much taller and physically bigger Jenkins squad Richmond Hill had to use quickness to try and counter. For one quarter it worked. A series of turnovers and charging calls by the Warriors allowed the Wildcats to stay with the zone pressing Jenkins squad and take a first period 16-15 lead. Then the fouls started going the other way.
Shortly after the start of the next period Altman had Chakiris Moss and Sean Szad on the bench with three fouls. Jenkins immediately started taking advantage of Richmond Hill’s inexperience on the floor and set out on a 13-1 run midway through the period. By halftime the lead was up to 10 and Richmond Hill was being taking advantage of underneath.
Jenkins out rebounded Richmond Hill 40-19 and got a lot of easy put backs. They were even getting a good share of their own missed free throws to extend their possessions. David Johnson led all scorers with 19 points for Jenkins and teammates Barnard Huggins and Nate Drayton had 14 and 13 points respectively.
Richmond Hill was led by Darius Postell with 12 points and Robbie Bynum with 10.
Moss, who spent a good pert of the game of the game on the bench with foul trouble managed just 8 points, well below his season average.
Afterward Altman blamed his team's problems more on their mental state than their physical.
"We are just a little too inexperienced and mentally weak to be prepared for back to back games like this sometimes" said Altman.
While his team lost game 2 to Jenkins 80-54, the Wildcats would be better prepared in game 3 on Saturday.
Midland Valley had been beaten by Savannah Country Day the previous night but only by three points. Having played SCD a couple of times already coach Altman knew his team's task was not going to be easy.
The game would go back and forth throughout and according to Altman the difference was his team finally ran their offense routinely without committing too many turnovers. The Richmond Hill coach would go on to praise his team for playing hard on defense and offense and felt it was one of their better efforts so far.
With Liberty County looming on their return from break on Friday January 4 in Hinesville, 6:30 p.m., they will need all the confidence they can get. In an odd twist Richmond Hill will have a chance to avenge one of their tournament losses with a non-region visit from Jenkins on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m..