ROCKINGHAM — Hollywood loves making sequels.
From Batman to Spiderman and everything in between, one movie is never enough. The thinking from film executives seems to be more is better.
Welcome to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s version of a sequel — Hoke County vs. Richmond Senior Part IV, The State Playoffs.
The Raiders (19-8) are just like the co-ed trying to escape from the clutches of Freedy Krueger or Jason Voorhees in the countless Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th movies, they run directly into the arms of the Bucks.
The previous three meetings have all ended the same, with Tarique Thompson and his teammates slicing and dicing Richmond. The Bucks won the first matchup, 80-72, in Rockingham before knocking off the Raiders, 63-50, in Raeford. In last Friday’s Southeastern Conference title tilt, Thompson led Hoke to a 78-60 win.
Even though his team may still have the scars to show after the latest loss to Hoke, Richmond Senior coach David Laton believes all of previous defeats, along with the bumps and bruises, can be tossed out the window.
“Everything is over with…it’s a new season now, it’s the playoffs,” Laton said. “There will be no carryover from those other games. This is like a seventh game…that is what this game is going to be like. There is no tomorrow.”
The Bucks (25-2) have beaten the Raiders by an average of 13 points this season and with their largest margin in the series coming in their last matchup, Laton believes this may aid his squad.
“You never know, they could be looking ahead because we’re certainly not,” Laton said. “Or they just could be tired of playing us. I’m not so sure playing them so quickly again isn’t a good thing for us.
“At practice today we came in and shot around for awhile and talked about our assignments for tomorrow. We know their personnel and they know ours.”
Because of this familarity, Laton thinks the contest will not come down to any Xs or Os moves by his counterpart, Quame Patterson, or himself, but rather the players on the court.
“There is no more game of emotion than basketball,” Laton said. “The team that comes out and plays with the most sense of purpose, resolution, resolve is going to win the game tomorrow.”
— 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.