ROCKINGHAM — After learning his first round playoff opponent, Richmond Senior boys basketball coach David Laton discovered Olympic was going to be long, athletic and ready to run the court.
The Trojans didn’t disappoint.
Olympic seemingly scored at will against Richmond in posting an 84-63 victory Monday night at Raider Gymnasium.
Fueling the Trojans’ offense was senior point guard C.J. Jackson. The Division I recruit scored a game-high 27 points and helped three of his teammates break into double figures as well.
“C.J. is a big part of what we do,” Olympic coach Ty Baumgardner said. “He has the ball about 95 percent of the time. Having four players in double figures means three things: first, we are sharing the ball; second, we are making shots; and third, we are getting easy baskets off our defense.”
All of those things were true for the Trojans (23-4), especially in the opening 16 minutes when they opened a 20-point halftime lead.
Laton said in addition to struggling to find a way to stymie Jackson, his team needed to find some offense to trim the deficit.
“I heard their point guard was a Division I prospect,” Laton said. “He’s pretty good. Once we got behind a team like that, you can’t run plays, you have to try and catch them.”
Richmond was never able to catch Olympic, but did pull within 16 with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter on a steal and a dunk by Raheem Bowden. It was the closest Richmond got the rest of the way.
Bowden finished with 17 points in the game. Tre Pettigrew led the Raiders with 20 points and Greg Patterson chipped in with 14.
“Greg had a great year for us,” Laton said. “Tre stepped up for us tonight. Raheem stepped up big in the last four games or so. We appreciate what the seniors did for us this year.”
Richmond closes out its season with a 14-9 overall mark. Despite the loss, Laton thought his team left everything on the court.
“We played hard tonight,” Laton said. “We kept coming at them. We have played in 13 games this season of five points or less and won eight of them. They had to keep their starters in the game to make sure they won.”
Richmond’s loss wasn’t the only black eye for the Southeastern Conference in the first round of the 4A state playoffs as all three teams were taken out. Hoke, the conference champion, was eliminated at home by Southeast Raleigh 52-46. Garner ousted Lumberton 103-62.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.