PEMBROKE — Midway through the first quarter, Richmond County’s Raheem Bowden rose up over the Purnell Swett defense and scored off a pin-point alley-oop pass from Josh Calhoun.
It was a sign of things to come.
In the air and on the floor, the Purnell Swett boys couldn’t keep up with the high-rising Raiders on Friday night, falling 66-46 in a Southeastern Conference opener in Pembroke.
“Their length, you can’t simulate that in practice,” Swett coach Jeremy Sampson said of the Raiders. “That’s tough. We scouted them well I thought, but their very athletic.
“They’re going to be tough. They’re going to be one of the better teams in the SEC.”
The Raiders (11-3, 1-0) flexed their towering traits right from the tip. After Swett’s James Chavis, who had a team-high 17 points, drained a pull-up 3-pointer to give the Rams a 9-5 lead, Richmond locked into a 13-0 run in the last 3:34 of the first quarter to go up 18-9 after the first period. Richmond switched from a 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone that proved nearly impenetrable for the home team — due to Richmond’s length — struggled to find the lane and get off open looks outside.
“I told the guys, we just didn’t execute against their zone,” Sampson said. “We just didn’t get in the gaps and made bad passes … We didn’t get a chance to run our man offense with their zone and I said if we stay behind their going to stay in that zone.”
Moreover, the Raiders commanded the glass and pushed the pace on the break. In the final minute of the quarter, quick runouts led to wide open threes from Calhoun and Xavier Davis to cap Richmond’s 13-0 run.
“I thought our rebounding made the difference tonight,” Richmond coach David Laton said. “And we started running the break better and getting second shots. We made our free throws and made our shots, it was a good win. It’s nice to be 1-0 (in the conference).”
Richmond snaps 9-game skid
PEMBROKE — Shaquail Wall scored a team-high 15 points as the Richmond Senior girls ended its nine-game losing streak with a 65-50 win over Purnell Swett in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
The Raiders improve to 3-9 and 1-0 on the season, while the Rams fall to 1-9 and 0-1.
Cherie Ellerbe added eight in the win. Colleen Chavis netted a game-high 17 points in the loss.
Raiders down Pirates in wrestling
LUMBERTON — The Richmond Senior wrestling team knocked off Lumberton 60-21 in a Southeastern Conference match Thursday night.
Dominique Everette, Devontae Watkins, Corey Covington, Jacob Staub, Deion Davis and David Watkins all claimed pinfall victories for the Raiders. Douglas Scott, Randy Altman, Dante Davis and Cody Giddens won by forfeits.
Lumberton’s Kent Bryant, Troy Hunt and Jesse Oliver were victorious by pinfalls, while Joshua Watts earned a win by decision.