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Sutton's 22 lead Lady Cats over Effingham County, Wildcats' struggles continue
Brionna Sutton
Brionna Sutton (20) attempts layup against Effingham County - photo by Gerald Thomas III


SPRINGFIELD -- Coach Sarah Jones needed something good to happen for her team and fortunately Effingham County showed up at the right time.

Richmond Hill’s girls fought off a late Effingham rally to snap a four-game losing streak in defeating the struggling Rebels, 48-27, last Friday night at Effingham in a Region 2-6A game.

“We had played some good opponents,” Jones said of the losing skein. “We were in a bit of a lull but we had a good practice on Thursday.”

The good Thursday practice translated into a good start the next night as the Wildcats (11-7, 2-4) took charge from the outset. With a 25-9 lead midway through the third quarter, they looked ready to put it on cruise control.

However, the Rebels, a team looking for its first winning season in six years after being a dominant team in the region, refused to roll over and play dead.

Effingham (4-10, 0-6) closed the third quarter on a 10-4 run and got within 31-24 with 6:39 to play when the Wildcats regrouped and pulled away.

“We dug in our heels,” Jones said. “When you’re in a four-game losing streak, you can’t keep doing the same thing.”

“Overall, we didn’t score in the second and third quarters like we did in the first and fourth,” Jones said. “I felt we executed well on offense in the fourth.”

The Wildcats ended the game with a 17-3 spurt which was triggered by a three-pointer from MaKiyah Matthews. After the Rebels made a free throw Jada Brown hit on back-to-back baskets and the Wildcats never looked back.

Brionna Sutton and Savannah Gravitt combined to outscore the Rebels with Sutton scoring a game high 20 points and Gravitt adding 11.

Sutton was also a force on the boards as she turned in an excellent all-around game with 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Gravitt, too, had a big night as she came up with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Brown and Matthews had five points each with Matthews being credited with four rebounds and two assists. Jessica Meyer added three points and four rebounds while Sapphira Mathews and Aaliyah Houston rounded out the scoring with two each.

Richmond Hill plays at South Effingham on Tuesday night to conclude a stretch of 12 straight games on the road at Glynn Academy next Tuesday.  The Wildcats will conclude the regular season with four straight home games.  


Richmond Hill’s 65-46 loss at Effingham County last Friday night in a Region 2-6A game left Coach Bill Henderson looking for answers on what it’s going to take to get his team’s season turned around.

The Wildcats, who were looking to end a nine-game losing streak at equally struggling South Effingham (2-14, 0-6) Tuesday night, were in the thick of things when they let the game get away from them in a matter of minutes in the third quarter.

Richmond Hill trailed 28-25 at the half and the game was tied three times in the third, the last at 32-32 before the Rebels broke it open and went on to win handily in a series marked by close games between the two arch-rivals.

“We played well in spurts,” Henderson said. “There were times we didn’t play well and when you play a good team, they make you pay.”

An example of the Wildcats playing well over an extended time was the second quarter when they rallied from a 14-8 deficit to take a 24-21 lead with 59 seconds left in the half thanks to Kaleb Beckwith and Brayden Baker.

Beckwith hit three-pointers on back-to-back trips down the floor, the second giving his team its first lead of the night at 22-21 with 2:27 left in the half.

Baker, who had nine of his 17 points in the second quarter, extended the lead to three when he made a pair of free throws. Effingham, however, closed the half on a 7-1 run which was a sign of things to come.  

After Baker uncharacteristically missed a pair of free throws to start the second half Beckwith popped in his third basket from beyond the arc to knot the score at 28.

After Andre Brown put back a Baker miss to knot it at 32-32 Effingham’s Timothy Brown  sandwiched three-pointers around Skyler Riley’s basket and just like that the Rebels were off and running.

“I don’t know where the signoff sheet is,” Henderson said. “When we play well, we do some really good things.

“We’ve got to figure out how to play four quarters. When we fall behind in double digits we really struggle.”

The end of the third quarter was a duplicate of the second when the Rebels again finished on a 7-1 surge and then opened the fourth with six straight points for a 51-35 lead that Richmond Hill could never cut into.

Baker’s 17 led the Wildcats with Beckwith adding 10 points and Justin Quiller eight. Baker, averaging 20 points per game, was held scoreless in the third when the Rebels made their move.

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