altmanCoach Altman interview - after the Hepzibah upset victory.
Given the choice, head coach William Altman will take boring over exciting every time. The Wildcats pulled off a stunning upset of Hephzibah on Friday 47-41. While the win over the second place Rebels was admittedly the biggest victory of his team’s season, Altman termed the game - boring. Richmond Hill went to the other end of the spectrum on Saturday with a down to the wire, nail biting 46-45 loss to visiting Wayne County.
Offense is exciting to watch, defense is boring. Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships - just ask Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. These truisms of sporting competition haven’t been lost on the first year Richmond Hill coach.
"It was a good game for us, a boring game though; we ran a lot of clock, played defense and made our free throws at the end." said Altman of his team’s performance. Richmond Hill led most of the way and took their lead in to the fourth period where the Rebels started intentionally fouling the Wildcats. Chakiris Moss made seven free throws in a row in the period to hold off the Rebel charge and lead all scorers with 22 points.
Hephzibah’s Blake Bush finished with 19 points and Elijah Smith had 12.Saturday was senior night and senior Sean Szad was joined by Xavier Owens and Darius Postell in the starting line up. Those same three helped the Wildcats to one of their best halves of basketball this season versus Wayne County. Szad had nine first period points, and Chakiris Moss made 12 of his 16 total points as the Wildcats built a 31-19 halftime lead. The in-your-face man pressure had the Yellow Jackets struggling to find open shots. In the second half they would finally find the hot hand.
Wayne County’s Jay Hardy (21 points) sank four three pointers in the second half to bring his team back in contention. Each one seemingly further out than the last until finally he gave the Yellow Jackets the lead midway through the fourth with a shot from near the sideline.
Richmond Hill would regain the lead at the foul line when Moss sank a pair and then later Postell a pair from the charity stripe. The Wildcats made 19 of 28 attempts from the free throw line on the night but would miss on two critical free throw chances late to tie or take the lead. As exciting as the finish was, it was a tough loss to take on senior night.
In the girls game, Richmond Hill played a similar first half with all their seniors starting on the floor. Colleen Keller, Jade Crosby, and Marisha Dunham led the Richmond Hill zone defense as they contained the Lady Yellow Jackets to just outside shooting. The defensive strategy worked as Richmond Hill held their opponents to just eight first period points. Unfortunately, the home team’s shots were not falling either and they were held to Keller’s single field goal in the period. That would change in the second.
Tyler Carlson hit two three-pointers in the period and Shakeena Dunham came off the bench for a pair of field goals as the Lady Cats stormed back to a 16-12 halftime lead. However, the Jekyll and Hyde turn-around was about to perform act two.
Richmond Hill managed just one point in the third period and just five in the fourth as the Lady Yellow Jackets went to a box and one defense, effectively taking Carlson out of her game. The Richmond Hill sophomore made only one three-pointer in the fourth period as the Lady Yellow Jackets built a commanding lead.
On Friday, Hephzibah came to the Wildcat Gym and showed why they are ranked among the top girls teams in the state as they ran away from Richmond Hill 90-14.
Both squads have completed their regular season and will now travel to Burke County next week for the region 3-AAA tournament. Details were not available at press time on Tuesday’s non region contest versus Portal.