ROCKINGHAM — Even though it is just the second game of its Southeastern Conference slate, the Richmond Senior girls basketball team has its back against the wall.
After dropping the league opener to Hoke last week, Richmond is almost facing a must-win game with Lumberton tonight at Raider Gymnasium.
With the number of automatic qualifiers from the SEC dropping from four to three, the Raiders are hoping to avoid starting off league play with two straight losses.
“We need to turn things around and not dwell on our first conference loss,” Richmond coach Victoria DeFrate said. “It’s a huge game I think because we have a little rivalry with them. There is something about beating Lumberton that would be good for us.”
Lumberton comes into the matchup 10-4 overall and defeated Pinecrest 60-32 in its only SEC game after it was forced to reschedule its game with Hoke to Tuesday because of academic testing.
“They’re always a good team,” DeFrate said. “We can prove ourselves by beating them.”
Tonight’s game with Lumberton will be the only contest this week for Richmond. It was scheduled to play at Marlboro County (S.C.) Saturday night, but the matchup was canceled Thursday afternoon according to RSHS athletic director Ricky Young.
Scotland sits atop the conference standings by a half-game over Lumberton and Hoke with a 2-0 record after its 59-38 victory over Pinecrest Tuesday night. The Scots-Patriots matchup was the lone SEC game to be played so far this week.
Scotland also played Thursday night, losing on the road to New Hanover 49-39 to drop to 4-7 overall.
Joining Lumberton and Scotland in the ranks of being undefeated in league play is Hoke. The Bucks pulled out a 57-54 win over the Raiders last week.
Pinecrest and Purnell Swett, like Richmond, are winless in the SEC so far. The Patriots are 3-9 overall and 0-2 in the conference. The Rams fell to the Scots 68-37 in their only league game and are 5-6 on the season.
Tonight’s schedule of games will mean at least one of the league’s undefeated teams will take a loss and another school will earn its first win. Hoke and Scotland will square off tonight in Laurinburg and Purnell Swett will hit the road to battle Pinecrest.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.