It turned out to be a little less nerve wracking for Richmond Hill’s new head coach Elizabeth Bennett than she probably anticipated. Her first game as a Lady Wildcat, and first ever as a varsity coach, had all the markings of a season's first game. Turnovers, missed shots and fouls abound. On the scoring end, however, Richmond Hill broke the game open in the second half and cruised to a 38-23 non-region win.
As excited as Bennett was about the win and the effort her team put forth to get the season opener under their belts, she also understands that her team is mostly inexperienced. With only one full time starter back from last season, Bennett said the team still has a lot of "growing" to do.
Likewise, Bryan County’s brand new coach, Mario Mincey, is also faced with rebuilding a team that lost a lot of talent to graduation. It showed in both teams' efforts.
Tyler Carlson being the key player returning from last seasons state playoff team for the Lady Cats, started slow, but scored 10 of her game high 13 points in the second half to energize her team. Perhaps still slowed by a shoulder injury she suffered during softball, Carlson spent most of the second period on the bench while coach Bennett went to her bench.
A tight pressing defense held the Lady Redskins to just two points on only three field goal attempts in the first period while Richmond Hill built a 12 point lead. Soon that tight defense was drawing a few whistles and the Lady Cats continued going to the bench for more substitutions. By the end of the period, the Lady Redskins had whittled the lead to just eight points.
It had to be frustrating for Bennett - the Lady Cats playing defense well, but squandering easy basket opportunities underneath when they did get the ball. Lady Cat Courtney Myers played well in her first start and was energized on defense, but for whatever reason couldn’t find the net on a lot of her shots. She finished with five points.
Redskin Brittany Slater scored five of her team high 11 points to help bring her team back during a run, but after intermission the run would end.
An energized Richmond Hill squad returned to the floor and executed that same smothering defense that they started the game with and Carlson started hitting her shots. The Richmond Hill sophomore sank six points in the period and was joined off the bench by Gina Anderson who also chipped in six points. It was a lead they never came close to relinquishing again.
Bryan County will be at home against Toombs County on November 30, at 6:30 p.m. while Richmond Hill will travel to the Augusta area to take on region 3-AAA rival Hephzibah that same night for a game at 6 p.m.