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RHHS girls upend Saints
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After getting beat in their first meeting at St. Vincents in a fairly close but not so inspiring performance, head coach Wade Wright and his Richmond Hill team had to be thinking of the rematch with the Saints that would come at the Wildcat gym this past Friday. They had to be thinking that they are the better team, thinking that this season’s future rests on that game.
Wright knew it and prodded his team to play more consistent basketball in practice this past week, and on Friday they complied. The Lady Wildcats outlasted the Saints 36-32 to pull into a tie for third place with both teams now at 4-4 in region 3-AAA South. It would be a team effort.
“I was really pleased with the way we played with patience and composure. We moved the ball around well and found some good open shots. Our defense played extremely hard as well,” said Wright of his team’s performance. He would go on to explain that they practiced the past week on playing with composure and if they can continue to limit their turnovers, as they did on Friday, they can play with most any team.
The see-saw game started with St. Vincents holding a slight advantage through the first period. Freshman forward Tyler Carlson’s basket at the buzzer gave Richmond Hill their first lead 7-6 and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Richmond Hill took a slight advantage through most of the second period, but baskets were not coming easy for either side. Richmond Hill was playing a smothering man defense and St. Vincents were in a zone hoping to make full use of their considerable height advantage, but not if center Jennifer Pellam had her way.
The Richmond Hill sophomore pulled down some key rebounds in the period to go with her 8 game points and, more importantly, was contesting the taller contingent from St. Vincents on the offensive boards and not giving up easy put backs. The next Saint run was spoiled by a Sarah Reid three-pointer, and then again at the end of the half, Carlson hit one to allow the Cats a 17-14 advantage in the locker room. There would be trouble brewing in the third however.
When Wright called his first time out of the second half at 1:20, he already had Carlson and Pellam on the bench due to foul trouble, and now the Ladies were in the double bonus. His team would have to weather the storm with his bench personnel.
Colleen Keller took a pass from Kala Hires at the top of the key and drained a three pointer to shave off one Saint comeback then junior post player Jade Crosby tied the game with a free throw and, a couple seconds later, hit a short set shot to give Richmond Hill back the lead. The fourth period was just as close.
Kala Hires was drawing her share of attention from the St. Vincents defense throughout the night, and, in spite of the fact she led the team in scoring with 11 points, her ability to run the floor in the face of a pressing defense and setting up her teammates to succeed was key to the Richmond Hill win.
Hires found Carlson breaking to the basket for two and lofted a pass to Pellam for another as the Ladies continued to hold on in the fourth. St. Vincents Morgan Boaen was held to just 2 of her team high 11 points in the period while teammate Mallory Morin tried to make up for it. Morin scored all six of her points in the period, but her teammates only managed 12 of 20 free throw attempts.
Hires would nail a three pointer in the fourth and sink 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to end any hope of another St. Vincents run. On Tuesday in Hinesville, they did not fare as well.
As happened in their first meeting, Richmond Hill was only able to tame one of the two Liberty County all-stars. As happened in their first meeting, Liberty County’s Nisha Adams made the Lady Wildcats pay the price.
While the Ladies were holding Metra Walthour to just 7 points, Adams was racking up 25 points. It was all too much for Richmond Hill on this night, especially on a night that they could not buy a bucket. No starter finished with more than five points.
The following night at Burke County, the Lady Wildcats suffered a tough loss in a close 39-34 game.
The Lady Cats now take on Hephzibah in Augusta on Friday, February 2 for a 6 p.m. tip off then are at home Saturday against Metter, 7 p.m., before traveling to Portal next Tuesday, 6 p.m.

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