Head coach William Altman’s Wildcat basketball team are taking baby steps toward success this season. Last Tuesday, they came close to avenging an earlier 22 point loss and disappointment against Savannah Country Day by playing them to the wire in a 47-43 loss.
In Friday’s game, like they would do at South Effingham, Robbie Bynum and Chakiris Moss would lead their team on offense with 16 and 14 points respectively against Savannah Country Day. But, when the game was on the line in their final possession, the Wildcats were unable to run a play and did not get off a good shot. Altman lamented that they had learned how to play with them but now needed to learn how to finish.
On Friday at South Effingham, Richmond Hill threatened to break out to big leads several times against the Mustangs, but each time allowing them to come back - finally seeing them come back and tie it in the fourth period - then surging in overtime to nab a 63-53 Wildcat victory.
Now that his team - seemingly - has learned to finish, Altman wants his team to learn how to finish a team off. Picky, picky, picky.
"We need to take a lead and keep the lead," pined Altman on his team’s fourth period let down. The Mustangs clawed their way back while Richmond Hill went cold and was held to just four points in the period. Then, with only seven seconds remaining, Mustang point-leader Justin Hatten made a three pointer to tie the game. Altman was also clear on what the difference was in overtime: defense.
The Wildcat man defense held the Mustangs to just one field goal in just three attempts during that overtime period, and Richmond Hill got rich at the line while the frustrated Mustangs started fouling early in hopes of getting the ball back. Richmond Hill’s Chakiris Moss made five of six free throws to help spoil the strategy. It was a breakout type game for the one player coach Altman and Wildcat fans have been counting on most to lead the team.
Moss started the game fast - scoring eleven of his game high 33 points in the period to help the Wildcats build a ten point lead in the period. Richmond Hill would cool in the second period as the Mustangs pulled to within four points by the half.
The third period saw Moss and Robbie Bynum (17 points) push the lead back to double digits once again a Moss three pointer to end the period and make the score 45-37.
The see-saw action would continue in the fourth.
Richmond Hill started getting a little too deliberate with the ball in an attempt to run some clock, but turnovers and some missed shots helped give the Mustangs the opportunity to finally come all the way back.
It has been a long time since Richmond Hill has had a player score greater than thirty points in a game. But, more than just having a hot hand, Moss seemed to be playing with more intensity and determination than Wildcat fans have seen previously from the junior guard. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
The Cats got sidetracked the following day with a 72-58 Saturday non-region loss at Windsor Forest, despite an early lead.
Richmond Hill, now 2-4, will be at home this Friday to take on the Claxton Tigers game time 7 p.m. That will be the last game before the Christmas break. The Wildcats will also be participating in the Savannah Christmas tournament.