Richmond Hill High School is back on the road tonight when the Wildcats take on high powered Northside in Columbus in the second round of the boys’ state Class AAAAAA basketball playoffs.
The Patriots (21-4) advanced with a 64-47 win over Northgate.
"Northside is a very talented team," said RHHS coach Bill Henderson. "Everything I’ve seen and read points to a very athletic group that plays really well together."
Richmond Hill High School (12-16) advanced to the second round by upsetting Jones County 63-61 on Wednesday night in Gray behind 37 points from Jeremiah Hill. The Wildcats also got 14 points from Nick Fitzgerald, five points from Daniel Wilder, two points each from Kameron Myers, Eugene Irvin and Cayman Cardiff and one point from Ian Chandler in the upset win over the Greyhounds.
They’ve had little time since to celebrate.
"We’ve been working hard the past two days making sure we are all on the same page with what we are going to try to do (tonight)," Henderson said.
The Wildcats are making their second trip in three seasons to the postseason, but this is a new team with five first-year starters and a new coach in Henderson, who took over a program that has had only two trips to the playoffs since making the postseason in 2004 when Henderson was a guard for legendary RHHS coach Jimmy Hires.
He believes playing on the road as an underdog may be beneficial to the Wildcats.
"I feel like in a way it is easier for underdogs to win on the road. In a lot of ways there is less pressure being on the road," he said. "Obviously, you’re going to have big crowds against you but for some guys that elevates their play."
Henderson also is confident his team can keep its season alive when they take on the Patriots tonight.
"I truly believe that this team can do it," he said. "We’ve got a good group that is going to play hard and do everything they can to help this team be successful. All we can really ask of the guys is to go out and give their best effort for four full quarters and I think this group of guys is up to that task."
Tipoff tonight is at 6 p.m.