ROCKINGHAM — No one wanted to say it was a must-win contest for the Richmond Senior boys basketball team, but it was a must-win.
Richmond had dropped three of its last four games to fall from first into a tie for second and with a loss to Pinecrest Monday night, could have fallen even further.
“We definitely needed to win,” said senior reserve forward Raheem Bowden.
Bowden scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half and overtime to pace Richmond to a 68-63 victory over Pinecrest. The win allowed Richmond to keep pace with Scotland for second place in the Southeastern Conference, both teams are 5-3. Scotland edged Purnell Swett 64-59 Monday.
“This is a big win for us,” Richmond coach David Laton said. “Raheem played well especially in the second half.”
The Raiders trailed 63-61 after Stephon Stephens hit a 3-pointer from the right wing at the 1:40 mark in overtime. On the ensuing possession, Xavier Davis was fouled attempting to answer Stephens’ jumper from beyond the arc with one of his own. Davis connected on all three free throws to give the Raiders the lead for good with 1:33 left in the game.
“That was a big play by Xavier,” Laton said. “I thought he played well in the second half and he hit 6 of 7 free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime.”
Instead of walking away with a victory, the Raiders nearly had the game snatched away at the end of regulation. Greg Patterson missed a possible game-winning 3-pointer and on the rebound, the Patriots were able to call timeout with 4.9 seconds left.
After one failed attempt to inbounds the ball, Pinecrest’s Jaylin Dickerson received the pass and launched a shot from midcourt. Dickerson’s shot careemed off the backboard and was rebounded by Kardashian Ragin. His putback spun around the rim before falling out, forcing overtime.
Richmond finished with three other players in double figures besides Bowden. Tre Pettigrew scored 17, Davis netted 14 and Patterson added 10. Pinecrest was led by Stephens’ 23 and Brandon Harrell added 17 in the loss.
“They run their offense as well as anybody in the conference,” Laton said. “I thought Stephens killed us in the first half. We started switching guys on him in the second half.”
Richmond is scheduled to face Hoke 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The game was slated to be played Jan. 31, but the winter storm forced the game to be postponed.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.