LUMBERTON — It was a litmus test for Richmond Senior.
The Raiders stood toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the Southeastern Conference for 3 1/2 quarters. Unfortunately for Richmond coach Victoria DeFrate and her team, the last half of fourth period proved to be the difference.
Lumberton held Richmond scoreless in the final 4:24 to pull away for a 58-43 victory Friday night at Pirate Gym. The win improves the Pirates to 12-3 on the season and 2-0 in league play. The Raiders had their modest two-game winning streak snapped to fall to 4-10 overall and 2-1 in the SEC.
Richmond’s Kevyna Stanback hit a runner in the lane to tie the game at 43. After that, the Raiders were unable to crack into the scoring column the rest of the way. The team missed wide-open jumpers, layups and struggled to hold onto the ball against the Pirates’ full-court press.
“Turnovers…we had too many of them again,” DeFrate said. “We rely on our defense to produce our offense and we fell apart. It’s frustrating to see because we had it with four minutes left.”
Lumberton coach Danny Graham said his team turned up the pressure on the visitors in the fourth quarter.
“The big key after the game was tied was our press,” he said. “We were doing a good job with it throughout the game, but we finally started hitting our layups.”
Aliyah Ratley, who was saddled with foul trouble in the second half, gave Lumberton the lead for good with two free throws at the 3:38 mark. Moments later Katilyn Singletary broke free for a layup as the Pirates slowly started to pull away.
The big catalyst in the game-closing 15-0 run was Lumberton leading scorer Keanna McNeill. The senior netted seven of her team-high 13 points during this stretch.
“The last six minutes or so she really came around,” Graham said. “Richmond is better than people think they are.”
Besides McNeill, Lumberton had three other players in double figures. Maya McCoy scored 12, while Asaya Graham and Raven Ingram added 11 and 10, respectively.
Shaquail Wall led the way for Richmond with 14, all in the first half. Graham said he made it point during halftime that his team know where Wall was on the court during the final 16 minutes.
The Raiders will return to action 6 p.m. Friday when they play host to SEC foe Pinecrest.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.