RICHMOND HILL -- GIRLS
The Richmond Hill Lady Cats (1-0) set the tone for their 2021-22 season in convincing fashion in their 53-17 victory over the Windsor Forest Lady Knights (0-1).
In the first three minutes of the game, the Lady Cats jumped out to a 9-0 lead before allowing a bucket from the visiting Lady Knights.
They took their first double digit lead with an and-one score by Zoraya Thornton, going up 12-2 before the Lady Knights took a timeout with 4:06 left in the first while down 14-2.
With 11 seconds left in the second quarter, the Lady Cats head coach Sarah Jones burned her first timeout to escape a trap situation.
But the Lady Cats ended the first quarter leading 19-2.
“Defensively, they really got after it and we knocked down a couple of good shots,” Jones said about her team’s start. “So, I thought offensively, we were making good decisions and defensively, we were causing some turnovers that allowed us to get good shots.”
The second quarter was evenly matched with both teams scoring five points each.
Brionna Sutton scored the first basket of the quarter.
Only ten points combined was scored with the Lady Cats going into the break leading 24-7.
“We kind of got into the ‘run ‘n gun’ game with them which caused us to make some poor decisions versus being disciplined on the offensive end,” Jones said. “We really slowed it down at playing our game. One thing we talked about at halftime was playing our game and not somebody else’s. We played their game in the second quarter and it showed a little bit. We weren’t as effective.”
The Lady Cats took a 20-point lead with 3:45 left in the third quarter after a Sutton score, putting their lead at 30-9 before going into the final quarter up 34-15.
It was and-one central for the Lady Cats, scoring three of them in the final quarter while they nearly shutout the Lady Knights 19-2.
“I thought defensively we played well,” Jones said about her team’s late performance. “We weren’t putting them on the free throw line. We were putting a lot of pressure on them and getting some good steals. I thought that ultimately led to some easy baskets for us and on the other end of that we left a lot of points off from missed layups and free throws. We were not very good from the free throw line tonight. We talked about the consistency of our play and not riding a roller coaster because we’re going to play really good opponents and if you leave so many points out there, it’s going to come back to hurt you.”
They will play their next game at home when Woodville Tompkins come from Savannah on Friday, Nov. 19.
“We played them over the summer and they’re a very good team,” Jones said about the Lady Cats’ next contest. “We talked about these next two days at practice being really good practice to get better because we are playing a really good opponent come Friday. So, we’ll spend these next two days focusing on getting better and hopefully we get better out here in games too.”
The Richmond Hill Wildcats had a tall task with Georgetown basketball commit D’ante Bass coming to town to visit for the Windsor Forest Knights.
The Wildcats (0-1) fell to the Knights (1-0) 68-31 in their season opener behind Bass’ game high 15 points.
Brayden Baker led the Wildcats with nine points.
The game started with fireworks with Qurahn Anderson taking the top off the Richmond Hill gym with a high-flying dunk on the first play of the game as ‘overrated’ chants rang out of the Richmond Hill student section bleachers.
The quarter would be evenly matched for the most part, ending with the Knights up 9-5.
“Early on, obviously they started with the dunk,” Wildcats Head Coach Bill Henderson said. “We were out of position on that jump ball, but I think that first quarter we did a really good job of executing on offense and then being fundamentally sound and disciplined on defense. We knew going in that Windsor Forest is a really good basketball team with a lot of really good players and they’re really well coached. We knew going in that their style of play is up-tempo. Our mentality was trying to do all these little things right and stop dribble penetration and boxout to rebound. For the first quarter it worked fairly well.”
The Knights broke free of a lead, taking a 20-10 advantage with two consecutive dunks coming from Bass: a putback and a fastbreak tomahawk flush.
They went into the half leading 27-12 after Keame Carter drained a three as time expired.
“Second quarter kind of got away from us,” Henderson said. “You turn it over a couple times and get some fastbreaks and you get them going, and get them dunking, it just snowballs just a little bit. All things considered, going in the locker room down by 15, you still feel like you’re in the game.”
As the third quarter went on, the Knights simply extended the lead behind the effort of Loron Smalls draining three consecutive three pointers.
“I just think it was a lack of execution and some mental lapses,” Henderson said. “You can’t do that against good teams. They’re going to make you pay. That’s what you saw out there in the second and third quarter. They really made us pay for that.”
They went into the final quarter leading 51-25.
As subs came in, the lead just grew bigger, eclipsing the 30-point mark.
“Second half, we started to face a little adversity and didn’t respond very well and that’s on me making sure that these guys are ready and prepare and have a plan in place to go out there regardless of what they face,” Henderson said.
The Wildcats will host Woodville Tompkins on Friday for their next contest as they search for their first victory of 2021.“Obviously we’ve got to get a lot better,” Henderson said of their upcoming matchup. “We’ve got plenty of room for improvement. That’s kind of the challenge of the guys in the locker room. How do you respond to this? With Woodville, I’d imagine that it’ll be a similar situation to Windsor Forest tonight. A lot of athletic guys and good basketball players. Coach (Leonard) Williams does a great job with his guys. So, if we can come out and play similar to how we played in the first quarter but put four quarters together, it should be a good game but that’s kind of our challenge right now. Can we put it together for a full game? Against Johnson last Tuesday in the scrimmage, it was like two and a half quarters. We went up by 16 in the third quarter and fell apart. There’s things that we did well, and we just got to really work to correct the things that we didn’t do well.”