FAYETTEVILLE — It wasn’t the way Richmond Senior boys basketball coach David Laton wanted to start the game, but he didn’t mind the ending.
Laton watched as his team trailed by as much as 15 points in the first half before turning things around in the final 16 minutes.
Richmond rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to claim a 67-63 road victory over Douglas Byrd Thursday night. It was the Raiders fourth-straight win following a season-opening loss to Cheraw.
“We kept our full-court press on the whole time,” Laton said. “When we started it looked like we were sleep-walking. We kept telling the guys we are in better condition than they are.”
The Eagles (1-7) were unable to handle the pressure in the second half, allowing the Raiders to convert the turnovers into easy points in transition.
“We practice that and we were able to run our break,” Laton said. “We wanted to make our conditioning pay off and it did, especially in the second half.”
Laton said reserves D.J. Watkins and Octavius Patterson played key roles in the fourth quarter in the win. Patterson was forced to enter the contest to replace starting point guard Xavier Davis, who fouled out mid-way through the final period.
“He went 4 for 4 at the free-throw line late in the game for us,” Laton said. “D.J. came in and gave us nine points. He made two 3-pointers and made three free throws.”
Watkins finished with 14 points. Greg Patterson led the way for the Raiders with 16.
“We can’t get off to anymore slow starts,” Laton said. “It shows our character we were able to come back and win.”
Richmond will return to action 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Pauls in the first round of the Robeson County Shootout.
— 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.