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LCR sports wrap: Richmond Hill Wildcats getting mojo back
NiJajuane Youmans
NiJajuane Youmans (3) looks to pass against in the Wildcats’ Feb. 18 game against Statesboro. Photo by Gilbert Millerd.

By Charlie Moon,

After a 2-3 regular season-ending slide, the Cats got their mojo back!

The 58-55 semis win over Effingham was misleading. The Cats dominated for most of the game. In the 65-57 title game win against Statesboro, the old squad was back, playing above the rim and moving the ball around as if they had eyes in the back of their head. Jaeden Marshall was his usual self, pouring in 23, while Leighton Finley shot 100% from the floor and scored 15. Although the final was only 8 points different, this was another one in which the Cats never gave Low Country Radio a reason to feel in doubt.

We felt the crew was back on LCR! Baker, Markgraf, Marshall and company were making it look easy.

Brock Vaigneur and I were able to let loose on air. When that happens, you hear things like: “B-squared with the spin move…in the corner to Markgraf…dumps it down to Finley….kicks out to Marshall….U.S.

Marshall for three….

BANG….the officer delivers!”

In case you’re wondering, “B-squared” is Braden Baker and “U.S. Marshall” is Jaeden Marshall – courtesy of Vaigneur.

Man’s got a nickname for everybody! We try not to wear them out, but on nights like this one, they just flow. And the mojo continued to a dominating 76-58 1st Round GHSA Playoff win over Rockdale Co (Conyers) Tuesday night. Tuesday, Feb. 23 #4 Richmond Hill 76 - Rockdale County 58 Rockdale came in 10-14 on the season, so they played a heavy underdog role with nothing to lose – and it showed. Apparently, they got the memo on the Cats’ late-season handling full court pressure. They started from the tip, and combined with 3-4 from behind the arc in the first 3 minutes, to a 12-4 lead in the East Gym.

On air, I quipped, “Right now, this ain’t ya 2021 regular season Rockdale Dawgs! They got nothing to lose here early on and they got the bite to go with it!”

Well - after that - other than a late first half lull, the Cats dominated in every way. By the 6:00 mark in the 2nd quarter, the Cats had built a 26-16 lead, holding Rockdale to just 4 points in a 9:00 span.

But Rockdale went on a late second half spurt of their own to tie it at 32 at the half. In the Barry Gravitt Goosehead Insurance Postgame Show, HC Bill Henderson talked about those occasional lulls.

“When we’re running well, we can play with anyone. But to keep moving on, we’ve got to stop those lulls. We got down early tonight, then got up big, then they tied, then we took over again. We can’t have those valleys in the 2nd Round.”

Markgraf poured in 21 and drew four charges. In postgame Markraf didn’t even realize he drew that many.

“I lost count. But that’s what I gotta do when I’m struggling from the floor.

But tonight, it was all going well. Youmans and my guys on the perimeter kept getting it to me in good spots and we we’re so much bigger than a lotta teams, it’s easy from there.”

UGA baseball commit Leighton “Big Dawg” Finley and Marshall both delivered again with 21.

“Big Dawg” was mine. I’m a UGA fan and Brock… he’s…well…a Clemson fan.

LADIES The #13 Lady Cats have not played since last week’s BCN. They opened the playoffs at #24 Grovetown, the 10-7 (8-2) #2 seed out of Region 3-AAAAAA – after this week’s BCN print deadline. There should be an online updated wrap-up of that game on BCN and Coastal Courier soon.

During halftime of the boys win over Rockdale, Jones talked about the difficulty of playing unfamiliar teams in the playoffs.

“We try to prepare them as much as possible by getting as much film as we can, but again, not like a region opponent that you might have faced 3 times already. It’s important we’re all on the same page and stick to the game plan that we put in place. Again, just like we always talk about we want to make sure that we are extremely disciplined on both ends of the court.”

But I have to say, if I was coaching the Lady Cats I would definitely not have the planning faux pas (yes, I tossed in French) that former RH hardwood star Jones has.

I asked her what the travel plans were for Grovetown (Augusta) and she laid out the schedule and shootaround plans at a nearby high school to shake off the legs from the 3-hour drive. But for meal plans, she had nothing - absolutely nothing. “No clue on that one,” said Jones. “I guess I better figure that one out.”

Well, as far as I’m concerned, that would be #1 on my docket! All who know me, understand I’m kidding.

John and Mary Cave at Richmond Hill’s “Pappas Pizza” pay for their Low Country Radio sponsorship in gameday pizzas for the LCR crew. And let me tell ya. If you haven’t had a Caveman pizza, you’ll know why my diet has been shot. No matter what the plans are for both the Men and Lady Cats, in their playoff battles this week, one thing is for sure. Head coaches Sarah Jones and Bill Henderson will have their team well prepared.

Upcoming schedule Wednesday, Feb. 24 GHSA Playoffs - 1st Round #13 Richmond Hill Ladies at #24 Grovetown ****Played after deadline**** Friday, Feb. 26 or Saturday, Feb. 27 (Date/ Time TBA) #5 Richmond Hill Men home vs. #14 North Atlanta ****Check BCN online for playoff updates****

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