The second season is here forRichmond HillHigh School’s basketball teams and it all boils down to this:
Win and they’re in the state playoffs. Lose, and they start preparing for next season.
That means leaving it all on the floor for the fifth-seeded Wildcats (9-15, 5-9 in Region 3-AAAAAA) when they take on No. 4-seed Glynn Academy (16-9, 7-7) at 5 p.m. today at Effingham County High School.
“For us to be successful, we need to make sure that we give our very best effort in the tournament,” said first-year coach Bill Henderson. “We don’t’ want to have any regrets or doubts that we didn’t give everything we had to be successful.”
Hendersonsaid rebounding “is going to be a huge factor.”
“We’re are going to have to make sure that everybody is boxing out and rebounding so we don’t give up second and third shots at the basket,” he said. “We also have to take care of the basketball and keep our turnovers to a minimum. And lastly, I feel like we are going to have to be to execute our offense and not get in a hurry on the offensive end.”.
The Wildcats have weapons. Senior guard Jeremiah Hill leads the team in scoring with a 16.8 points per game average and is also one of the top 3-point shooters in the region, along with junior Daniel Wilder.
Junior forward Nick Fitzgerald is one of the top rebounders in the conference and can block shots, while guards Terence McCall and Kameron Meyers and forward Cayman Cardiff are among the best in 3-AAAAA at drawing charges.
But the Wildcats face a team they’ve already lost to twice – 53-42 in December, then 60-51 in January.
“Going into the tournament we know that we are going to have to have a really good effort to see success,”Hendersonsaid. “We’re matched up with a good team inGlynnAcademyin the first round and we are going to have to give 100 percent for all four quarters and see where that takes us.”
If the Wildcats win, they take on the winner of the Effingham County-Groves game at 8 p.m. Friday.
While the boys are a No. 5 seed, the Lady Wildcats (14-10, 8-6) are seeded fourth and are headed into the tournament having lost four of their last five games, including a 53-49 nailbiter to Effingham County on Friday night.
But RHHS coach Elizabeth Bennett is upbeat headed into the tourney.
“We played the top three teams in the region and played each one closer than we had,” she said. “We are healthy and very excited about our tournament.”
The Lady Wildcats also have weapons, starting with junior forward Keera Jackson, one of the region’s top inside threats.Jacksonis averaging 15.2 points and 12.1 rebounds a game. She’s joined inside by 6-foot-3 senior forward Charmia Graham, who missed much of the season due to injury.
Forward Hannah Riley is among the top rebounders and shot blockers in the region and Kristin McCauley is among the top 3-point shooters in 3-AAAAA. Guards Brandy Franklin and Khadijah Scriven are also key to the Lady Wildcats’ chances when they take on No. 5 seed Glynn Academy (10-11, 6-6) at 6:30 p.m. today in Effingham. The winner advances to play the winner of theBradwellInstitute-WindsorForestgame.
The Lady Wildcats beat the Lady Terrors both times they met in the regular season, winning 53-42 in January and 48-41 in December. But the Lady Wildcats can’t take the Terrors lightly, Bennett said.
“Glynn is athletic and quick so we will have to be on our best game to get a win, but I know my girls are up to it,” she said.