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Lady Cats off to perfect start, Wildcats face early struggles
MaKiyah Matthews
MaKiyah Matthews handles the ball against Liberty County - photo by Gerald Thomas III

RICHMOND HILL -- It was not the kind of a game a coach likes to see but knows is occasionally necessary.

Richmond Hill’s girls’ basketball team is off to an excellent start (6-0) and after a struggle with Camden County last Wednesday bounced back to post a pair of double digit wins over the weekend.

After beating future Region 1-A region opponent Camden by two points (35-33) in a game in which it did not play its best the Wildcats came back to overwhelm Liberty County (41-30) and Hilton Head (41-25).

MaKiyah Matthews led the win over Liberty County as she turned in a complete game with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jada Brown had 10 points along with two rebounds, an assist, three steals, three blocks and took two charges. Zoraya Thornton made her presence felt defensively as she had five blocks to go with four rebounds and six points.

Matthews followed that up with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and four deflections against Hilton Head while Brionna Sutton and Brown had 11 points each. Brown also had eight rebounds and six steals while Thornton had seven rebounds and two blocks.

For the season Matthews is averaging 11.8 points with Sutton averaging 9.0 per game, Brown is at 8.2 and Thornton 7.3.

Going into Tuesday night’s Region 2-6A game with South Effingham that balanced scoring attack enabled Coach Sarah Jones’ team to post five wins by double figures.

The Wildcats, averaging 43 points per game while allowing 27, will play a rematch at Camden County on Friday night and will be at home next week against region nemesis Glynn Academy.

Despite the fast start Jones feels her team still has yet to play its best.

“I felt against Savannah Country Day (42-24) we played well consistently,” Jones said. “We were up 31-6 against Woodville Tompkins (45-35) and they’re a good team.

“If we had played that way against Camden, it would have been a much different outcome. Against Camden we didn’t execute our offense. Our defense kept us in the game.”

As expected, it has been a struggle for Coach Bill Henderson’s boys’ team which was hit hard by graduation.

The boys got a much-needed win last Saturday when they knocked off Hilton Head, 51-48, in overtime. The Wildcats (2-4) outscored the Seahawks, 7-4, in the extra period to snap a three-game losing streak.

Henderson knew there would be some growing pains as he returned only starter, Brayden Baker, from last year. Early results easily indicate there’s plenty of room for growth.

The Wildcats’ other win was a 76-69 decision over Woodville Tompkins (3-4). With the exception of a 47-46 defeat to a good Savannah Country Day team the other losses have been by 17 or more points.

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