The Richmond Hill Lady Wildcats hosted the Lady Atom Smashers from Johnson High School of Savannah and won with a convincing 54-40 victory.
While the Lady Wildcats came away with the victory, it was not without early drama in the game as the Lady Atom Smashers jumped out to a 7-2 lead and seemed to have control of the game in the first period. With the Lady Wildcats being unable to finish on free throws, going 3/10 in the first, their backs were against the wall early.
“We just were not finishing there early on,” head coach Sarah Jones said. “We have to make those and get the easy points. Fortunately, we were able to clean up some of the early mistakes. We picked up our energy and things fell our way after.”
Things fell their way via baskets, and they came in bunches. The Lady Wildcats would end the first on an 8-1 run, and take a 10-8 lead into the second period, and would not surrender the lead the rest of the way.
“The defense started to settle in towards the end of the first and they played well from that point on,” Jones said. “We scored the easy baskets that we were not finishing on to start the game and cleaned things up.”
Into the second, both teams scored their fair share of points, as the Lady Wildcats would outscore the Lady Atom Smashers 19-13 in the period. Sophomore Emari Brown stole the show in the second as she made a huge block, had a steal and scored on a big 3-point shot, which is usually not one that she attempts. The Lady Wildcats would take a 28-21 lead into the break.
“I think Emari has always had the ability to make and take those shots,” Jones said. “She has always had the confidence to do it. We have really practiced taking game-like shots via a ‘Lock-In’ shooting drill. We rotate shooters every 25 seconds, and I feel like that helped us big time tonight.”
The third period may have been the best period that the Lady Wildcats have played all season, as they outscored the Lady Atom Smashers with an astounding 19-3 scoring output. A total team effort dominated Johnson and the visitors could not recover.
“The team really gets along well,” Jones said. “Things are not always going to go our way, but we remain disciplined and they always pick each other up. They have each other’s backs. The team is always excited for each other. It really feels great to see that as a coach.”
While the fourth period scoring output was dominated by Johnson 16-7, the Lady Wildcats were able to get some much needed playing time for the reserves to finish off the game, as they prepare to head into the second half of the season.
“We just told them that we are pleased with the 11-3 record through the first part of the season, but come next week, this is a new season,” Jones said. “The 11-3 record goes out the window. Everyone is 0-0 now.”
The Richmond Hill Lady Wildcats (11-3) will host the Valdosta Lady Wildcats (12-3) on January 5 to begin region play. Tip-off is at 6pm.