ROCKINGHAM — Raider Gymnasium exploded with excitement following Greg Patterson’s 3-pointer from the right corner tied the game between Richmond Senior and Cheraw (S.C.) with 7.5 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, the Braves elected to put the ball in the hands of Zac Sellers.
Sellers took the in-bound pass, dribbled the length of the court, through the defense and hit a layup as time expired to lift Cheraw to an 81-79 victory Tuesday night. It was the season opener for both teams.
Sellers finished the game with 13 points.
“Trey Dickey set a screen for me to get the ball,” Sellers said. “And from there I was able to go to the rack. I think they messed up on the play. I looked up at the clock as soon as I was open to either shoot or get to the rack.”
Richmond coach David Laton said he told his team to play full-court man-to-man defense and to avoid fouling the opposition.
“We didn’t take a charge or block the shot,” Laton said of the final play. “They made some tough shots all night. We were trying to keep them in front of us and he just went to the hole. I was worried of a Hail Mary pass and them hitting a jumper, that’s the reason we went man.”
Sellers’ basket helped Cheraw avoid a collapse in the final 3:17 of the game. The Braves took a 78-69 lead on a 3-point field goal by Dalvin Taylor, who scored a game-high 25 points, before the Raiders mounted a comeback.
Xavier Davis scored four straight for Richmond to trim the deficit to five. Patterson drained a 3-pointer to slice the margin to two before Sellers hit one of two free throws to set up Patterson’s game-tying jumper.
“I thought we would have won the game if we got it into overtime,” Laton said. “I’m impressed with our comeback to tie it at the end. We need to rebound better and play better defense around the basket.”
The Raiders ended up with five players in double figures, led by Sidney Neely and Davis. Both finished the game with 16 points each. The Braves had four score at least 13 in the win.
Richmond will return to the court 7:30 p.m. Thursday at home versus Camden Military Academy.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.