ROCKINGHAM — Before the game Jordan Richardson told his teammates to get him the ball in the post.
They listened and found him — early and often.
Richardson scored Richmond Senior’s first six points of the game and the opening five points of the second half en route to a game-high 21 in a 67-51 semifinal victory over Pinecrest Wednesday night at Raider Gymnasium.
“I told them to look for me,” Richardson said. “In the earlier games I wasn’t getting the ball as much. I was in my mode tonight.”
Not only was Richardson finding room to maneuver in the paint so was teammate Shydamion Ellerbe, who added 16 points.
“I thought Jordan played one of his top games of this season tonight,” Richmond coach David Laton said. “He and Shydamion were getting big rebounds for us tonight as well.
“As the game went on, they were gambling more and more on the wings. I told Josh (Calhoun) if they overplay the wings to go ahead and throw the ball right into the post. You can’t take everything away.”
The Raiders (18-7) led 32-24 at halftime and extended their lead to 16 points in the third quarter after Calhoun’s old-fashion 3-point play before the Patriots tried to mount a comeback in the final period.
Pinecrest pulled to within six points with 3:41 remaining in the game when Justin Ray hit 1 of 2 free throws. It was the closet the Patriots would get the rest of the way as the Raiders kept them at bay from the free-throw line, connecting on 9 of 12 in the final three minutes.
“We played good defense in the first and third quarters,” Laton said. “We rebounded pretty well most of the night. I thought Josh did his best job of running the show and getting the ball to where it needed to go tonight.”
Calhoun was the only other Richmond player to score in double figures, finishing with 12. Adam Cummings scored a team-high 12 points for Pinecrest (15-9). Jvyhoun Justice added 10 in the loss.
Richmond advances to face Hoke County in Friday’s Southeastern Conference tournament championship contest in Raeford. Hoke, the regular season champions, blasted Lumberton 106-69 in the other semifinal contest.
The Bucks (23-2) swept the season series with the Raiders, winning the first contest 80-72 and claiming a 63-50 in their last meeting.
No matter the result of the title tilt, Hoke will be the No. 1 seed out of the SEC, while Richmond will be the second seed. Pinecrest will be the No. 3 team and Lumberton will be league’s fourth seed when the North Carolina High School Athletic Association releases its 4A playoff brackets Saturday afternoon.
Richmond wins softball scrimmage
ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior softball team blanked Anson County 4-0 in its first scrimmage of the season.
Hunter Parks and Summer Jacobs each pitched three hitless innings for the Raiders. Cierra Bowden, Kim Covington and Haleigh Denham all recorded two hits in the win.
Richmond will return to the diamond 4:30 p.m. today when it travels to Union Pines.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.