LUMBERTON — Turnovers plagued the Richmond Senior girls basketball team in the early going of its tournament semifinal matchup at Lumberton on Thursday.
The Lady Raiders turned the ball over 10 times in the first five minutes and found themselves trailing by 18 points at the end of the first period. They were able to cut down on the mistakes in the final three quarters but it wasn’t enough, as Lumberton took home a 61-46 win.
“We came out not taking care of the ball like we needed to. Period,” coach Rosalind McDonald said.
Both teams struggled to hold on to the ball early.
Before Lumberton’s Merlena McClure scored the game’s first points at the 6:45 mark, there had been a total of six turnovers — Richmond committing four of them. Lumberton mishandled the ball on back-to-back possessions following McClure’s triple, but Richmond didn’t take advantage.
Zelda McLaughlin’s layup with 2:37 to go in the first quarter was the Lady Raiders’ first and only field goal of the first quarter. A free throw each from McLaughlin and Zariah Williams rounded out the four points they scored in the first eight minutes.
Richmond (11-11) was able to turn things around before the half, however, as it poured in 14 points in the second quarter while holding Lumberton to just three. The Lady Raiders went into the break trailing 25-18.
“We started taking care of the ball and being more aggressive offensively and defensively,” McDonald said.
Layups from McLaughlin and Alexis Swiney got Richmond within three points early in the second half, but a few turnovers — and foul calls that favored Lumberton — helped the Lady Pirates separate themselves. A fastbreak layup from McClure, followed by a basket from Jasmine McBride, sparked a 17-4 run to end the third quarter.
Richmond had a hard time coming up with defensive rebounds throughout the game. Many missed opportunities on the glass hurt its chances at a comeback and turned into points for the home team.
Lumberton (23-1) secured its biggest lead of the night, a 20-point margin, after a Destiny Hardin layup. The Lady Pirates saw four players score in double figures, with London Thompson’s 14 points leading the way. McClure and Madison Canady each chipped in 12 points and McBride finished with 10.
McLaughlin had a team-high 13 points for Richmond. Swiney and Williams scored nine and seven points, respectively, while Lexis Ingram — who moved up from the junior varsity team — added six.
Lumberton will host Hoke County in the title game Friday. As for Richmond, it now awaits the bracket announcements to see if it will be competing in the postseason.
Box score from Thursday’s semifinal matchup:
RICHMOND – McLaughlin 13, Swiney 9, Williams 7, Ingram 6, Griffin 5, Shepherd 3, Alexander 2, Holiday 1
LUMBERTON – Thompson 14, Canady 12, McClure 12, McBride 10, Reed 6, Hardin 5, Simpson 2
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.