SOUTHERN PINES — Unlike last season when it had to scramble to find a Christmas tournament to play in, the Richmond Senior girls basketball team will be back on familiar ground next week.
The Raiders will participate in the Holiday in the Pines tournament hosted by Pinecrest after entering Eastern Alamance’s Holiday Hoopla last year. Pinecrest administrators elected to cancel last season’s event, forcing Richmond officials to search for another holiday destination.
Richmond coach Victoria DeFrate is happy her team will be making a short drive up U.S. Hwy. 1 instead of taking a four-hour roundtrip to play over the break.
“It will be nice to play close to home and hopefully have a nice fan base,” DeFrate said. “And it will be nice to play a team out of the region. I think it’s good to play teams from different areas of the state.”
Richmond (2-4) is slated to play Chapel Hill at 6 p.m. Friday, while Pinecrest will take on Hough in the nightcap. The losers will meet at 3 p.m. Saturday with the championship contest slated for 4:30 p.m.
The Tigers are 5-0 on the season and have defeated their opponents by an average of 47 points a game. The Patriots are 3-3 on the season, not including their contest with Hoggard. The Huskies are currently 5-1 with their only loss coming by nine points at home against Myers Park, which lost in last year’s West Region final.
“Chapel Hill and Charlotte are big basketball areas. It will be a good test to see how mentally and physically tough we are,” DeFrate said. “I know the Chapel Hill and Charlotte teams will be really physical, it will be good to see if we can hold our own against them.
“We know our conference is tough, this tournament will let us know where we stand mentally and physically.”
The Raiders will return to action 6 p.m. today when they travel to face Union Pines before playing host to South Robeson Wednesday.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.