Richmond Hill claimed three wins — including two at the Metter Holiday Classic — in four games during the past 1½ weeks to pull a winning record out of the holiday break.
Tuesday night, the Wildcats (10-6 overall, 3-2 in Region 3-AAAAA) fell 55-51 at Brunswick, RHHS’s second defeat in the past month to the defending AAAAA state champions.
RHHS trailed by 12 points going into the fourth quarter before clawing back into the contest. Wildcat head coach Bill Henderson said his players continued to attack the basket and got some stops in the final period. However, overall shooting hurt Richmond Hill; the ’Cats were 12 of 38 in the lane against the taller Pirates and shot 15 of 29 from the free-throw line.
Isaiah Hill had 23 points for RHHS, while Sam James added eight.
None of Richmond Hill’s losses has been by more than six points, and three have been in overtime.
“We will continue to learn from these close games, though, and hopefully get to the point where we are playing our best basketball as we head into the region tournament,” Henderson said.
On Saturday, the Wildcats thumped Wayne County 64-34 at RHHS. Hill led a balanced attack with nine points. Leviticus Brown had seven rebounds.
Hill also shined in the Metter Holiday Tournament, which took place Dec. 29-30.
He hit a free throw with seven seconds left to give the ’Cats a one-point lead, and Islands missed a layup at the buzzer to give RHHS a 72-71 victory on Dec. 30.
Richmond Hill trailed by double digits in the first half, as the strong-shooting Sharks — Islands shot 13-of-29 on 3-pointers — were hitting shots early. However, RHHS got the deficit down to four points by halftime.
“I was proud of the way our guys didn’t panic when things weren’t going our way and stuck to the game plan to get back into the game,” Henderson said.
Hill had 28 points, while Zane McKenzie had 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Trey DeLoach had 12 points.
On Dec. 29, Hill scored
22 points to lead Richmond Hill to a 62-40 win over Woodville-Tompkins.
Hill also scored his 1,000th career point in the first quarter of the game.
McKenzie chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“We played fairly well for our first game back after the break. We were sloppy at times, but overall it was a good effort,” Henderson derson said. “We struggled at the free-throw line (11 of 24), which is an area that we are really going to have to improve on as the season progresses.”
Meanwhile, the RHHS girls’ team dropped two in a row to start the new year.
The Lady Wildcats (2-13, 0-5) fell 61-36 at Brunswick on Tuesday and fell 42-29 to Wayne County on Saturday.
Lady ’Cats head coach Sarah Brown said her players went on a 5-0 run to end the third quarter against Wayne and trailed by seven, but turned the ball over on their first six possessions of the fourth quarter.
“We have got to do a better job at the end of the game taking care of the ball and having positive offensive possessions,” she said.
Jazlyn Martin led RHHS with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Aubri Reed added eight points.
The Lady Wildcats got their second win of the season by topping Islands 47-43 on Dec. 30 in the Metter Holiday Tournament.
Getting the win in a close, back-and-forth contest like the Islands game was huge for the Lady Wildcats, Brown said.
“We’ve battled close games all year and haven’t been able to finish them in the end, so finishing this game was big,” she said.
Jamie Bunting had
18 points to lead Richmond Hill (2-11). Tiara Gandy had 10 points, while Martin had eight points and 14 rebounds.
On Dec. 29, RHHS kept it close against Woodville Tompkins before falling 62-49. The Lady Wildcats trailed by two at halftime despite a slow start, but went on a run in the third period and led by five to start the final period.
Free throws, however, proved to be the Lady Wildcats’ undoing, as they shot only 3 of 13 from the foul line in the fourth period. The Wolverines turned those misses into rebounds and then points, and made their own free throws once RHHS was forced to foul.
Martin led RHHS with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Bunting finished with
10 points, while Aubri Reed added eight points and five steals.
The RHHS teams host Ware County on Friday and Liberty County on Tuesday.
Jeff Whitten contributed to this report.