RAEFORD — The fourth time wasn’t the charm for Richmond Senior against Hoke County.
The Bucks defeated the Raiders behind Tarique Thompson’s 18 points to earn a 67-58 victory in the second round of the state 4A playoffs Wednesday night.
“It is hard to beat a team four times and we’re not talking about a last-place team,” Hoke coach Quame Patterson said after his team swept the season series. “They have bigs, shooters and are well-coached.”
After falling behind by as much as 14 points late in the third quarter, Richmond pulled to within six with 3:56 remaining in the contest on Jalen McDonald’s jumper.
Hoke (26-2) struggled at the free-throw line down the stretch, hitting 6 of 11 free throws in the final four minutes, giving Richmond several opportunities to cut into the deficit even further. The Raiders were unable to take advantage, going more than three minutes without a point. Shydamion Ellerbe ended the dry spell with a layup with 49 seconds left.
“We played hard,” Richmond coach David Laton said. “Our best quarter was the fourth. We had a chance at the end and that’s all we could ask for. I told the guys when we cut it to six that it was a two-possession game.”
Laton added having key contributors foul out hampered his team’s offensive abilities down the stretch.
“We had three guys we count on sitting on the bench, while they had all of theirs out there on the court,” Laton said. “We were playing hard and we picked up some fouls. I’m proud of our team…to finish 19-9 is pretty good.”
Ellerbe closed out his Richmond career with a double-double — scoring 16 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Josh Calhoun was the only other player to score in double figures in loss, netting 11.
“I thought Shydamion played great tonight,” Laton said. “Josh did a good job of running the offense. We needed one player more to step up and it could have been the difference tonight.”
Hoke will play host to Seventy-First Friday night in the third round. Patterson was pleased to see his team tested before facing the Falcons for the third time this season.
“They threw everything at us tonight, 1-3-1, triangle-and-2, man-to-man,” Patterson said. “I knew they wouldn’t lay down against us. They gave us everything they had. It was the first close game we have had since playing them the first time in Rockingham.”
Raiders fall in season opener
FAYETTEVILLE — Despite limiting Terry Sanford to two hits, Richmond Senior lost its season opener, 2-0, Wednesday afternoon.
The Raiders (0-1) notched six hits off Nathan Arp in the loss. Bradley Brown and Cody Leviner pitched for Richmond.
“We had some opportunities to score, but couldn’t get a hit with runners in scoring position,” Richmond coach Ricky Young said.
Richmond will return to action 6 p.m. Friday when it plays host to Charlotte Christian.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.