Two games into the new year, Richmond Hill’s Lady Wildcats continue to struggle in finding a way to win. But coach Elizabeth Bennett stays upbeat and sees improvement with every struggle and says her team is working hard every day to turn it around.
On Friday, a trip to Hinesville found them overwhelmed and overmatched against the talented and athletic Lady Panthers from Liberty County in a 68-32 region loss.
On Saturday, the Lady Wildcats played much better and led most of the game but fell off in the fourth period and dropped a 48-35 non-region decision to Jenkins at the Wildcat Gym.
Bennett is now hoping her vision of seeing improvement in her team - even without the victories - will come to fruition for her 2-9 Lady Wildcats. A trip to Burke County Friday night for a 7 p.m. start followed by a visit from Windsor Forest on their return Saturday night, 7 p.m start at the Wildcat Gym.
"Athleticism kills us," Bennett said on her team’s game against Liberty County. Georgia Tech signees Nisha Adams (14 points) and Metra Walthour (17 points) dominated the Lady Cats from start to finish. From Adams, an early six points in the first quarter all the way through to Walthour’s break away lay up with twenty seconds left in the game against the Lady Cats bench players. Candace Barham added 12 points for the Lady Panthers and finally Tyler Carlson started finding some open shots in the second half and scored all eleven of her team high points after halftime for the Lady Wildcats.
On defense, the Lady Panthers started with their signature full court press and finished with it. Richmond Hill was never able to break it effectively. On Saturday, they faced another pressing defense but now, well practiced, started beating it.
The Lady Cats came out against Jenkins’ version of the press with a much different result. Bennett had guard Tyler Carlson sharing the ball handling duties in the back court and, when her or her teammates got the ball up court quickly enough, they were finding open shots underneath.
Dajah Davis and Courtney Myers both made early baskets from in close while Carlson hit a three and Colleen Keller an outside two point shot. The new found diversity that resulted from them breaking the Lady Warriors press led to a 12-8 first period lead and maybe the best period of basketball the team has played thus far this season. Afterward, Bennett attributed their success not to a change in strategy as much as it was her team just finally "getting it".
Richmond Hill continued to play well in the next two stanzas, but those same inside shots they were making early were starting to ring out in the third period. This allowed Jenkins to take the lead in the third and it went back and forth several times before the Lady Warriors managed to take a 29-26 lead going in to the fourth.
Unofficially, Richmond Hill made just 3 of 15 field goal attempts in the fourth period. The second half cold spell allowed the Lady Warriors to gradually increase their lead. The good news is Richmond Hill attempted 46 field goals during the game and were balanced with their attack. Carlson led the Lady Wildcats with 10 points but seven other players also lit the scoreboard - a welcome site for Bennett, who has become accustomed to seeing opposing teams concentrate their defense on Richmond Hill’s Carlson.