ROCKINGHAM — What a difference three weeks can make.
In the first meeting between Lumberton and Richmond Senior, the teams were tied with four minutes remaining in the contest. The Pirates then closed out the victory by shutting out the Raiders the rest of the way.
Friday’s rematch saw Lumberton open strongly on defense, limiting Richmond to 12 first-half points en route to a 52-41 win at Raider Gymnasium.
“I thought the difference was we got off to a better start tonight,” Lumberton coach Danny Graham said. “We got off to a good start on defense, while they struggled offensively. That got us out to a big lead.”
The Raiders were 0 for 9 from the 3-point line in the first half until Shaquail Wall connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Wall, who scored all seven of the team’s points in the second quarter, finished with a game-high 17.
“We had trouble setting up our offense,” Richmond coach Victoria DeFrate said. “Our defense scored us some points tonight, but we turned it over too much.”
After falling behind by as much as 19 points in the second half, Richmond slowly chipped away at the deficit and pulled to within 12 points with 3:56 remaining in the game.
Lumberton (17-4, 7-1) responded behind Aliyah Ratley. The senior guard had an old-fashion three-point play and added another free throw moments later to push the lead back out to 16 with just over two minutes left.
“We played hard, but we needed to be more aggressive,” DeFrate said. “Lumberton’s girls were more aggressive than we were. We started playing like that towards the end of the game.”
Richmond (5-14, 3-5) will return to action 6 p.m. Tuesday when it travels to Pinecrest. The Patriots improved to 12-8 overall and 5-3 in the Southeastern Conference with a 57-32 win over Purnell Swett Friday. Pinecrest has won both meetings with Richmond this season by an average of 17 poitns.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.