ROCKINGHAM — Forget about the nonconference schedule struggles because the Richmond Senior girls basketball team is on a roll.
Even though it is a modest two-game winning streak, it comes on the heels of a nine-game skid, and has the Raiders 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play following Friday’s 54-31 home-court victory over Hoke County.
“I kept saying it was going to work out some time,” Richmond coach Victoria DeFrate said. “We’re executing better, we’re protecting the ball a little better and we’re playing hard, more aggressive defense.”
After Tae’Neequa Dixon hit a jumper from the right wing to tie the game at 2, Richmond’s defense shutout Hoke over the next eight minutes. The Bucks finally ended the Raiders’ 13-0 run on another Dixon jumper at the 5:24 mark of the second quarter.
Richmond (4-9) built a 28-10 halftime lead behind the 3-point shooting of Shaquail Wall. After struggling to find her touch from the perimeter in the opening moments of the contest, Wall finally found the range and hit three 3-pointers in the first half, including back-to-back bombs in the final 30 seconds.
“She’s a shooter and shooters will shoot their way out of a slump,” DeFrate said.
Wall finished with a game-high 17 points for Richmond, Jade Evans chipped in with 11, while Kevyna Stanback added 10 off the bench in the win.
“Our defense is improving and we’re playing more like a team now,” Wall said. “We’re also taking care of the ball.”
Richmond will battle one of the conference favorites, Lumberton, at 6 p.m. Friday in its next contest. The gap between games was a result of moving the Purnell Swett game to Jan. 4.
DeFrate believes the extra time will be beneficial as her team prepares for the Pirates.
“There’s a lot of things we still need to work on,” DeFrate said. “We are going to take the five days to work on them.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.