In the talent laden region 3-AAA Richmond Hill has found another opponent that will make noise come tournament time and like the others they were much bigger, stronger and more physical than the Wildcats. The Bears jumped out to a big lead early and stretched it through three periods for a 64-47 win.
On Saturday Richmond Hill faced another challenge when non-region Windsor Forest visited the Wildcat gym. A good defensive effort against all but the Knights Thomas Traywick was spoiled when the Windsor Forest forward hit for 22 points in the 67-50 loss.
The two losses drop Richmond Hill’s record to 5-10 overall, 1-4 in region 3-AAA. With a 7 p.m. visit Friday from South Effingham, and a trip to Pembroke Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Richmond Hill hopes the tough competition they have been stacked against lately will give them a boost as they wind the season toward the region tournament in February.Head coach William Altman used every strategy he could think of against Burke County, including trying to control the ball and the clock
but nothing worked. The Bears stretched a 10 point first period lead to 30 points by halftime and held off a minor comeback by the Wildcats in the fourth period.
One bright spot was a 13 point output by Richmond Hill’s center Nathan Spill that led the Wildcats' scoring. A trio of Bears led the opposition in double figures. DeVonda Lewis scored 18 points, Bobby Burham 15 points, and Mack Golden had 10 points for Burke County.
Saturday Richmond Hill’s tight man defense could not stop the Knights outside shooting, and the Knights' trapping zone defense wasn’t giving up anything. After a 10-0 start by the Knights, Richmond Hill called timeout with just over three minutes gone in the period. Finally Xavier Owens' steal and breakaway lay up broke the ice and the Wildcats managed to close to 14-7 by the end of the period.
Traywick continued setting the pace for Windsor Forest in the second period with eight points. He was joined by Tony Scott with all of his six points in the period, and even while their team mates started falling off it would be Traywick that kept them going. Windsor Forest increased their lead in the second period to 32-16.
Meanwhile the Wildcats were not hitting much and really not shooting much. Chakiris Moss, who had only two points in the first half, would come on in the second to lead the Wildcats in scoring with 17 points but it was too little too late.
Owens picked up 10 points after getting seven on Friday and has been showing a lot of improvement as the season progresses. His ball handling, running the floor, defense, steals, scoring and playing minutes have all increased significantly over the past few games.
More importantly, the Wildcats continue to play hard throughout the games and concentrate their efforts on their defense. Richmond Hill has been hurt when they are unable to hit their outside shots because the majority of the teams they play have a major height advantage.
Given their improvement they could still be a Cinderella type team come region tournament time, and a few more wins along the way wouldn’t hurt their seeding.