Sluggish starts in the Savannah Holiday Classic translated into a pair of narrow losses for the Richmond Hill boys’ basketball team, the most recent coming Monday when the Wildcats fell 59-54 to Brunswick despite 24 points from Isaiah Hill.
Last Friday, RHHS (7-5) gave defending state Class AAA champ Jenkins all the Warriors wanted before losing 81-78 in an overtime thriller on a last-second 3-pointer. Hill had 32 points against the Warriors and was one of four Wildcats in double figures. Sam James added 12 points while Andrew Walker and Zane McKenzie each finished with 11.
On Saturday, McKenzie and Hill had 11 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Wildcats to a 63-42 win over South Carolina’s Swansea High. The Wildcats led the Tigers 21-19 at half before blowing the game open in the final two periods.
Similarly, the Wildcats trailed Jenkins 23-11 at the end of the first quarter before coming alive, and the Pirates led 34-20 at halftime. Despite the losses, RHHS coach Bill Henderson was upbeat about his team’s performance so far during the Christmas break.
The Wildcats play Woodville Tompkins on Tuesday in the Metter Holiday Classic.
“We’ve played fairly well over the break,” he said. “Unfortunately, we came out slow in every game ... (but) I was proud of the effort that the guys showed. We’re able to play against good competition over the break, which will only help us down the road as we prepare for the region tournament.”
Of Richmond Hill’s five losses, three have been in overtime and “two of those three were at the buzzer,” Henderson noted.
“I feel like the guys have learned a lot from those defeats, and hopefully, we can execute better in the second half of the season and close games out when we have the lead late,” he said. “The guys are continuing to get better and are doing a good job of executing on both ends of the court.
They have been working hard in practice to make the improvements necessary for this team to be successful.”
The Wildcats host Wayne County on Jan. 2 and then get back into Region 3-AAAAA play Jan. 5 at Brunswick. Richmond Hill is 3-1 in 3-AAAAA, trailing Effingham. Meanwhile the Richmond Hill girls picked up their first win of the season Saturday — and it was a runaway.
The Lady Wildcats (1-10) downed Windsor Forest 50-28 behind 13 points from Tiara Gandy, nine from Jamie Bunting, seven from Caitlin Elkins and six points and six rebounds from Jazlyn Martin.
Richmond Hill also played close in a 47-43 loss to West Orange (Winter Park, Fla.) and a 49-42 setback at the hands of Bradwell Institute. Bunting led the scoring against West Orange with 15 points, while Martin added 11 points and six rebounds, Aubri Reed added nine points, and Elkins had eight points and seven rebounds.
Reed led a balanced scoring effort against BI, scoring nine. Kia Davis added seven and Gandy and Martin chipped each in six points each. Elkins finished with five points, eight rebounds and five blocks.
For coach Sarah Brown, the holiday performances are a sign the Lady Wildcats are getting better.
“We are getting on the right track and playing more as a team, which is going to be big as we get back into region play,” she said.
Bryan County High School’s Lady Redskins lost one and won one over the weekend.
The Lady Redskins (6-4 overall) fell 40-33 to host Claxton on Saturday, despite getting 13 points and eight rebounds from Julianne Brown, 12 points and four assists from Kaylin Leggett, and six points and seven rebounds from Yaz Crawford. Both teams started slow before Claxton opened up a 19-12 halftime lead.
Bryan County came back in the third quarter, but couldn’t seal the win.
“We battled back in the fourth quarter. We couldn’t get the lead back.” said BCHS coach Mario Mincey, who called the loss “a tough one.”
If Saturday was tough, Friday was a walk in the park for BCHS, which blew out Region 2-AA foe Bacon County 53-10 at home. Brown had 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Alyssa Edwards added 11 points and three steals. Crawford chipped in eight points and pulled down
“We got a chance to play a lot of people,” said Mincey, whose squad improved to 3-2 in 2-AA. The Lady Redskins played at Screven County on Tuesday and will take on Jenkins on Tuesday in the Portal Holiday Classic.
The Redskins (6-3 overall, 5-1 3-AA), fell 55-42 to Claxton on Saturday after downing Bacon County 63-50 on Friday night. Individual stats were unavailable at press time.
The Redskins play in the Gentleman’s Classic in Statesboro against Westover on Monday and Liberty County on Tuesday. Game times were unavilable at press time.