ROCKINGHAM — To earn a win during the playoffs, a team has to play solid defense and rebound.
Richmond Senior did just that Wednesday night.
The Raiders held High Point Central’s leading scorer, Cory Hanes, to one point en route to a 64-53 victory in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.
Richmond, the Midwest pod’s No. 9 seed, will travel to Mocksville to face Davie County at 7 p.m. Friday. The War Eagles (21-6) stopped Northwest Guilford, 91-67, in their second round contest.
Richmond limited the Bison to eight points in the third quarter to stretch a five-point halftime lead to 11.
“I thought we were really aggressive tonight,” Richmond coach David Laton said. “We went to the free-throw line 29 times and we outscored them in 2s. They hit eight 3-pointers to our one and we won the game going away. I was very pleased with our effort tonight. I thought we rebounded much better in the second half.”
Laton knows the Raiders will need to continue to shut down the opposition as they get deeper into the playoffs.
“Even my wife tells me that defense wins game,” Laton said. “I told them tonight to play hard and play defense.”
The Raiders (20-6) scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed in the contest. All five of Richmond’s starters were in double figures, led by senior Trey Little’s 15 points.
Little said he told the team before the win at Butler he didn’t want to be eliminated in the first round and repeated his speech before facing Central.
“I didn’t want to lose in the last home game,” Little said. “We wanted to push the ball against them, but I think we pushed it a little too fast and got out of control. We played good, solid defense tonight.”
Laton praised Little for his play in the final game at Raider Gymnasium. Little did take some ribbing from a teammate for his shooting ability at the end of the first three quarters. Little missed three jumpers as time expired in each period.
“I knew they were depending on me,” Little said. “I just couldn’t drop it. Josh (Calhoun) let me know about too.”
After scoring 83 in the first-round win over Butler, the Raiders struggled to find a rhythm offensively against the Bison. The majority of Richmond’s points came on second-chase points or in transition. Shydamion Ellerbe had 14 points, but only two in the second half. Jordan Richardson added 11, seven coming in the third quarter. Justin Glenn connected on one field goal, but still managed to finish with 10 points.
Will McRae scored 15 points, all from beyond the 3-point line, to lead Central (11-16).
Davie, the No. 5 seed in the Midwest pod, finished tied for second in the Central Piedmont with Reagan.
“I don’t know anything about them,” Little said. “But I’m going to Google them, like I did (with High Point Central).”
In other games involving teams from the Southeastern Conference, Hoke County knocked off Seventy-First 76-53 in a Mideast pod game. The Bucks will play host to the winner of the Hillside-Apex game at 7 p.m. Friday. In the girls bracket, Scotland stopped Holly Springs 47-42. The Scots will travel to the Mideast pod’s top seed, South View, at 7 p.m. Friday.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org