Richmond Hill’s boys and girls teams were looking to catch a break after playing five consecutive Region 1-7A games when they took on Jenkins High School Tuesday night.
Unfortunately it didn’t work out well for the boys as they dropped a 48-46 game to the Warriors. The girls on the other hand had things their own way as they coasted to an easy 55-31 win.
It was Senior Night and the Wildcats said goodbye to 11 seniors: five girls players, two boys and four cheerleaders.
Girls players recognized were Haley Everett, Savannah Gravitt, Aaliyah Houston, Sapphira Mathews ad Brionna Sutton. Boys players were Noah Enoch and Julian Jackson while cheerleaders were Emma Lowe, Kaden Oglesby, Jamira Thompkins and Tiffany Wu.
After opening region play with one win to show in five outings Coach Bill Henderson’s team was in desperate need of a win but it couldn’t get over the hump against a Jenkins (7-12) team which had lost nine of its previous 10 games. In a back-and-forth game which featured five ties and 13 lead changes the Wildcats last led at 4442 with 1:08 to play when sophomore Ahkee Mack was fouled on a driving layup and converted the free throw.
The Warriors then got five straight points from Juwan Boggs and held on to hand Richmond Hill (613) its fourth straight loss. Boggs led Jenkins with 15 points while A. J. Bynum scored 20 for the Wildcats. Mack had seven points, all in the fourth quarter, as did Jackson.
Jenkins once led by six points, 32-26, in the third quarter but poor free throw shooting enabled the Wildcats to claw their way back into it. The Warriors were a miserable 9-of-20 at the free throw line including going 3-for-10 in the fourth quarter but they had enough in the tank at the end to hold on.
Coach Sarah Jones gave everyone the real feelgood moment of the night when she started her five seniors including Houston who has not played due to injury.
Houston was replaced seconds into the game by sophomore May Inyang and she got a big hand from the student section and her teammates.
“She’s been a part of the program for four years,” Jones said. “She’s worked hard, stayed with us and been loyal to the program. We wanted to get her in and see her get her recognition.
“It was the right thing to do.”
That was the first of many right things the Wildcats (13-6) did on the night as they enjoyed a night off from the pressures of region play.
“We’ve had a rough stretch,” Jones said. “We’ve got to take the next couple of days and get ready to go to Valdosta.”
Both the girls and boys team have their next three region games on the road starting with games at Valdosta on Friday. They go to Camden County on Tuesday and are at Colquitt County on Friday before finishing regular season play on Feb. 7 when they host Brunswick.
Jones admitted the Wildcats did not play their best basketball against Jenkins but much of that was due to her playing 13 players with nine of them scoring. Senior Brionna Sutton scored 14, sophomore Jada Brown had 12 and Inyang added seven which included the first six points of the game.
Richmond Hill was up 8-4 in the early going before it scored eight quick points to lead 16-4 after the first period. Sutton hit a runner with 3:59 left in the second to trigger a 11-0 spurt over the next two minutes and it was all over.
The Wildcats led 29-10 at the half and had their biggest lead of the night at 53-21 with four minutes remaining as they bounced back from a 7243 loss to Lowndes.