ROCKINGHAM — If Richmond Senior girls basketball coach Victoria DeFrate wants to see how to build a program, all she had to do was look across the court to her opponent.
Rocky River coach Odis Gadson led his team to 11 and 13 wins in his first two seasons and a playoff berth.
Now the Ravens took the next step with a 76-52 victory over the Raiders Monday night in the opening round of the state 4A playoffs.
“We got our 19th win and advanced to the second round,” Gadson said. “This is my third year here and we finally broke through.”
That is what DeFrate hopes to see out of her team next season in her third year on the bench. In her first year, DeFrate led the Raiders to a 7-18 mark and a spot in the playoffs. With the loss to the Ravens, the Raiders improved to 13-7 this season.
“We know what we have to do,” DeFrate said. “We made strides from last year, but we weren’t where we need to be yet. Some of our underclassmen got some good playing time tonight. We are going to miss our seniors.”
The six-person senior class for Richmond scored 38 of the team’s 52 points in Monday’s loss. Asiana Douglas scored a season-high 15 points and was the only Richmond player to reach double figures. Freshman Zelda McLaughlin added nine.
“We are going to have another group that wants to get better,” DeFrate said. “I think in a way it was good for the players to see where they could be if they work and get to a higher skill level.”
One of the areas DeFrate would like to see her team improve in before next season is ball handling. Richmond was trailing by eight heading into the second quarter when Rocky River’s full-court press started to create havoc.
The Ravens went on a 20-2 run in the opening four minutes of the period to extend their lead to 26 points.
“Our full-court press really gets us going,” Gadson said. “I knew they were a solid basketball team and I knew they had a couple of good scorers.”
The closest Richmond was able to get the rest of the game was 17 on a Veronica Griffin layup at the 5:28 mark of the third quarter. Rocky River (19-7) quickly responded with an 11-0 run to push its advantage to 28 points.
Ariana Nance scored a game-high 27 points to lead three Rocky River players in double figures. Taeshnia Dorsey and Hydeia Harvey scored 16 and 13, respectively.
Richmond wasn’t the only Southeastern Conference team to fall in the first round. Conference champion Scotland was upended by Jack Britt 56-52 in Laurinburg. Lumberton was the lone SEC team on either the boys or girls side to post a win, knocking off South View 47-41 in Hope Mills. Lumberton will travel to Southern Alamance 7 p.m. Wednesday.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.