SOUTHERN PINES — In a season full of recipes, this one was a disaster from the get-go.
Coming into the opening round contest of the Holiday in Pines girls basketball tournament, Richmond Senior coach Victoria DeFrate has been looking for someone to consistently handle the basketball. Chapel Hill, on the other hand, uses a full-court pressure defense to stifle its opponents.
After mixing the two together, the end result was not pretty for the Raiders as the Tigers cruised to a 68-15 victory Friday night at James Moore Gym at Pinecrest High School.
“We still don’t have anyone who can take care of the ball,” DeFrate said following her team’s seventh consecutive loss. “We can’t get anything started if we turn the ball over. We have to find five people who want to play aggressively out there.”
DeFrate added facing Chapel Hill will prepare her squad for the weekly grind in the Southeastern Conference, which begins Jan. 4 at Purnell Swett.
“This was as good of example of how I want the team to play,” DeFrate said about the Tigers. “You see glimpses of it from time to time. I know at some point it’s all going to come together.”
Chapel Hill limited Richmond (2-7) to two field goals in the entire contest — a jumper by Jennifer Steen midway through the second quarter and a 3-pointer from Keyvena Stanback in the fourth. Steen and Stanback led the Raiders in scoring, each netting five points.
In the third period, the Tigers pull off the unimaginable, by shutting out the Raiders.
“Our goal is to be in double figures in every quarter,” Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris said. “Our strength is that we are deep. I can take five out, put another five in and we don’t miss a beat.”
Heading into the tourney, the Tigers (8-0) had six players averaging at least six points a game and continued their philosophy of balanced scoring against the Raiders. Jamella Smith came off the bench to outscore Richmond single-handedly with a game-high 19 points, while another five contributed at least six points in the victory.
“Jamella normally starts but her grandmother passed away and she missed practice yesterday,” Norris said. “We have team rules and she didn’t start.”
Chapel Hill will take on Hough, which defeated Pinecrest 48-41 in the nightcap, in the championship game at 4:30 p.m. today. The Huskies (8-1) used a 17-0 spurt in the second and third quarters to break away from Patriots. Kelsey Dean scored a team-high 19 points and Taylor Junior chipped in with 17 for the victors.
Richmond and Pinecrest will battle in the third-place contest at 3 p.m. Felicia Painter notched eight points and 16 rebounds for the Patriots, while Janea Williams finished with eight points and 13 rebounds.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.