ROCKINGHAM — After battling to a second-place finish at the Holiday Hoopla Tournament last week, Richmond coach Nellie Harrington wanted an easy game before heading into Southeastern Conference play Friday night.
She got it and more.
The Raiders bolted to a big first-quarter lead and never looked back en route to a 66-13 victory over South Robeson Tuesday night. The victory improves Richmond to 8-2 overall on the season.
“I was glad to have a relaxing game before conference,” Harrington said. “We worked on some plays and everyone had a chance to play. The only thing I wish was that it was more challenging heading into the conference. I didn’t get a chance to work on the full-court press.”
The Raiders took a 35-10 lead into halftime before turning up the defensive pressure in the second half. The Mustangs didn’t record a field goal in the final 18 minutes of the game. South Robeson’s final basket of the game came at the 2:22 mark of the second quarter, when Savannah Hunt scored on a breakaway layup. The Mustangs netted two free throws in the third quarter and another one in the fourth.
While the visitors were struggling on offense, all nine Raiders dressed to play scored in the contest. Tiara Ellerbe outscored South Robeson on her own, netting a game-high 17 points to lead three Richmond players in double figures. Jade Evans and Kivana Keane each added 10 in the victory. South Robeson’s Chelsea Jacobs netted seven points in the loss.
Richmond played without starter Malaysia Bloomfield, who sat out the contest after suffering a shoulder injury in the Holiday Hoopla Tournament.
“I had two units tonight, with two starters on each of them,” Harrington said. “I thought they didn’t too bad tonight. We just wanted Malaysia to take a break and rest. Hopefully, she will be back on Friday.”
In addition to giving her reserve players playing time, Harrington was able to tinker with her lineup — inserting Keane as a point guard.
“I wanted to see how Kivana did running the point,” Harrington said. “You never know, Tiara could get into foul trouble or hurt.”
Richmond will open defense of its conference crown at 6 p.m. Friday at Hoke County.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org