The Richmond Hill boys’ basketball team has a winning streak going as the holidays draw near.
The Wildcats beat Statesboro 46-45 on Tuesday in Statesboro for their fourth-straight win, raising their overall record to 6-3 and Region 3-AAAAA mark to 3-1.
RHHS head coach Bill Henderson said he feels the team is playing with confidence right now.
“We are starting to cut down on our mistakes, and I feel like we are playing better now than we were at the beginning of the season,” he said. “That is the big goal for us, to continue getting better every day so that we are playing our best basketball at region-tournament time.”
In Tuesday’s game, which was a back-and-forth affair, RHHS’s Isaiah Hill hit a late 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 43-41 lead. Then, after the Blue Devils tied the score, Hill threw down a dunk to get the lead back.
Statesboro missed a 3-point attempt, and RHHS’s Andre Walker got the rebound. Zane McKenzie hit 1 of 2 free throws to push the lead to three points. The Blue Devils’ Jaylon Patrick missed a 3-pointer, and Michael Solomon scored off an offensive rebound, but it wasn’t enough as time expired.
“I was really proud of the way our guys went out and executed the game plan, and I was especially proud of the way they fought through some of the tough times in the second half,” Henderson said. “We played well defensively, executed on offense, and made the key plays needed down the stretch to pull out a win.”
Hill had 22 points, including three treys, to go with six rebounds. McKenzie had nine points, while Walker had six points and four rebounds. Sam James led the Wildcats with four assists.
Last weekend, the Wildcats claimed two wins, beating South Effingham 58-51 on Friday at home and downing Tattnall County 64-59 on Saturday in Reidsville.
Against South Effingham, RHHS got off to a strong start, leading 14-4 at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats’ lead eventually built to 17 points as the fourth quarter began. RHHS was 13 of 19 on free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
Hill had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. Tyler Thompkins had 11 points and two steals, while McKenzie had seven points and six rebounds. Walker added six points, four rebounds and three assists, and James had six points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Against Tattnall, the Wildcats had a 29-16 lead at the half. Tattnall cut the deficit by outscoring RHHS 23-15 in the third quarter, but each team scored 20 points in the fourth.
Hill had 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting on field-goal attempts and also had four assists. Walker had 17 points on 6 of 8 field-goal shooting to go with two steals.
Trey DeLoach had nine points and four rebounds, while James had six rebounds and four assists.
The Wildcats, as a team, made 52 percent of their field-goal tries.
In both weekend games, the Wildcats had double-digit leads at halftime, but were unable to build on them in the second halves, Henderson said.
“A lot of the credit for losing the leads has to go to both South Effingham and Tattnall for continuing to play hard and making things happen in the second half, but I also think we had some spurts where we quit executing the way we are capable of on both the offensive and defensive ends,” he said.
The RHHS girls lost 54-31 at Statesboro on Tuesday to fall to 0-8 overall and 0-4 in the region.
Aubri Reed had eight points for the Lady Wildcats. Jazlyn Martin had seven points and nine rebounds, while Jamie Bunting had seven points.
The Lady Wildcats dropped their two weekend games, falling to South Effingham 44-27 on Friday at home and to Tattnall County 50-40 on Saturday in Reidsville.
On Friday, the Lady Wildcats struggled in the first half and trailed 27-8 at halftime.
RHHS was led by Tiara Gandy, who had six points. Bunting had five points.
In Saturday’s contest, Bunting had 16 points, and Hannah Yontz had 10.
“The girl’s continue to work hard and we are still working to find the right consistency to finish games on the winning side,” RHHS head coach Sarah Brown said. “It is still early in the season, and by the end of it we plan to be playing our best ball going into the region tournament.
The RHHS boys begin play in the Savannah Holiday Classic at 8:30 p.m. Friday by facing Jenkins at Johnson High School in Savannah. The Lady Wildcats open their side of the Classic by facing West Orange at 4 p.m. Friday at JHS. Tourney play continues Saturday and Monday.
The Bryan County boys got back on the winning track by topping Groves 53-48 on Tuesday at BCHS.
The win put the Redskins’ overall record at 5-2 and their Region 2-AA record at 2-2 going into this weekend’s action.
BCHS had a 1-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but Redskins head coach Randy Cooper said a switch to a pressing defense created turnovers, which led to baskets that helped keep Groves at bay.
The Redskins dropped a Region 2-AA contest on Friday, losing to Long County 72-61 in Ludowici. Long County opened up the game in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Redskins 47-29 in that span. Cooper said BCHS’s turnovers were the key in that stretch, leading to easy transition layups for the Blue Tide.
Kimonti Murray had 25 points to lead BCHS. Isaiah Tillman had eight points but was plagued by foul trouble, Cooper said. Jaylin James and John Walker each had seven points.
The BCHS girls (4-3 overall and 1-2 in Region 2-AA) dropped a 59-50 decision to Long County on Friday in Ludowici. Julianne Brown had 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Lady Redskins. Kaylin Leggett had 14 points and two steals. Alayna Williams had seven rebounds, while Yasmine Crawford took down six boards.
“We did not play well in the first quarter and made it difficult to make a comeback late in the game. We have to stay out of early foul trouble as well,” BCHS head coach Mario Mincey said.
Results of the Lady Redskins’ home game Tuesday against Groves were not available as this issue went to press.
The BCHS teams host Bacon County on Friday and play at Claxton on Saturday and at Screven County on Tuesday.