ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior and Pinecrest won last Friday night to clinch a berth in the state 4A playoffs.
However, both schools still have something to play for tonight — second place in the standings and a bye in next week’s Southeastern Conference tournament.
Richmond is now 16-5 overall and 6-2 in the SEC after its come-from-behind 63-59 home victory over Lumberton, while Pinecrest improved to 14-6 on the season and 5-3 in the league with a 55-52 win against Purnell Swett.
It is simple for the Raiders to grab the No. 2 seed — win tonight. A victory would give them at least seven conference victories as well as a sweep in the season series with the Patriots. In this case, the best Pinecrest could finish would be 6-4.
However, a loss could have Richmond sliding down to third in the standings depending on Friday’s results.
Richmond would still finish second in the SEC with a loss tonight, if it were to beat Scotland in the regular season finale, while Pinecrest fell to Hoke County.
The Patriots could grab the No. 2 seed outright if they were to win their final two games, while the Raiders dropped their last two SEC games. This scenario would give Pinecrest a 7-3 record in the SEC, while Richmond would have a 6-4 mark.
If Pinecrest wins tonight as well as against Hoke and Richmond stops Scotland, then both teams would finish with 7-3 marks in the SEC. In this instance, the tiebreaker would favor the Patriots because they would have earned a victory over a higher seed — the Bucks. Hoke swept the season series with Richmond.
The only instance when the Raiders and the Patriots would be forced to use the final tiebreaker is if they both finished with 6-4 conference records. Both teams would have been swept by Hoke, split with each other and lost one game to Scotland. If this were to occur, then a coin flip would determine which school earns the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.
Things are just as tight for the fourth seed. The winner of tonight’s Lumberton-Scotland will take control for the spot with its third conference victory, but Purnell Swett would stay alive with an upset over Hoke for its second win.
On the girls side, the seedings are still up in the air.
Three schools — Lumberton, Scotland and Pinecrest — have qualified for the postseason. Two more — Richmond and Hoke — are battling for the other spot.
Richmond is currently in fourth, but has an outside chance to move up to third. Hoke is in fifth, but could claim fourth outright. The Raiders are 5-14 on the season and 3-5 in the SEC, while the Bucks are 5-17 and have a 2-6 league mark.
Richmond closes out its conference slate with road games at Pinecrest (12-8, 5-3) and Scotland (16-3, 7-1), while Hoke travels to Purnell Swett (1-18, 0-8) and plays host to Pinecrest.
If the Raiders were to win their final two SEC contests and the Patriots lost their last two, then both teams would post 5-5 conference records. If this were to occur, then a coin flip would determine which school was the third seed in the SEC tournament.
Pinecrest has a chance to move into a tie for second by winning its last two contests and would need either Lumberton or Scotland (the two schools face each other tonight) to lose its final two games.
However, the most likely scenario has Richmond and Hoke fighting it out for the fourth seed. The only way the Bucks can claim fourth outright with two victories and have the Raiders lose their final two SEC games.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.