In a game between two Lady Wildcats teams with playoff implications on the line, it was the Lady Wildcats of Richmond Hill who would advance with a final score of 48-35 over Valdosta at home on Saturday.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” head girls’ basketball coach Sarah Jones said. “This was a big win for us. We knew we had to go into this game and not overlook anything. Just because we won those other two games did not mean we would win this game, so we made sure to take care of things and be disciplined.”
Richmond Hill was in control for the entire game, as they would have a lead in each period–including the first, ahead 16-7. With seconds before the period ended, Lexanna Oge hit a near-half court shot right before the buzzer sounded. Mmekom Inyang had four in the first, while Oge and Jada Brown each had three. Emari Brown, MaKiyah Matthews and Cullen McCormick would add two apiece.
“We had to adjust early on in the game because two of our players got in early foul trouble,” Jones said. “That forced us to put people in different spots and I think we handled that adjustment well.”
The second proved to be much tougher for Richmond Hill, as Valdosta would hold them to zero points until 3:12 to go in the period, when Matthews would end the run. Valdosta outscored Richmond Hill 10-9 in the period, but Richmond Hill held on to a 25-17 lead, with Oge scoring a layup just before the buzzer again. Matthews had three in the period, while Oge, McCormick and J. Brown each had two.
In the third period, Richmond Hill would dominate on both sides of the ball, as they scored 11 points on the offensive side, and only allowed 7, to take a 36-24 lead into the final period. Inyang had five in the period while McCormick added three more. E. Brown had two and J. Brown had one.
“They did a lot of substituting in the game, but I feel like we were ready for it,” Jones said. “We knew who their weapons were and what they could do. Regardless of who was on the floor, we wanted to stay disciplined. No matter who is in or what they did, we wanted to do our job and we accomplished that.”
While Valdosta kept the scoring close in the period, only being outscored 12-11, Richmon Hill would hold onto their lead and their chances in the playoffs with the win. Inyang had six in the period and Matthews added three more. E. Brown, J. Brown and Oge each had one in the final period.
“This win is a big deal,” Jones said. “It guarantees us at least three more games. We were locked in to today’s game and took care of what we needed to. Now we have the opportunity to take on Lowndes. If we can win that game, we will get one more home game for the playoffs. If we lose, we are still in, but will remain on the road the rest of the way.”
The Richmond Hill Lady Wildcats (17-9) will travel to Lowndes (17-4) to take on the Vikettes on February 13. Tip-off is set for 7pm.