RAEFORD — The Richmond boys basketball team only trailed Hoke County by nine points at the end of the first quarter. When it was time for both teams to visit the locker room at halftime, however, the Raiders were down by 29.
Jaquante Harris and Dakari Johnson picked up the pace for Hoke (9-1, 4-0 SAC) before the half and Richmond (1-5, 1-3 SAC) was unable to keep up with a short-handed roster. Harris scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the second quarter while Johnson — who went scoreless in the opening quarter — finished with 13 first-half points.
The Bucks would ride that momentum in the second half and cruise to a 92-69 victory over Richmond on Friday.
“They (Hoke) do a good job in transition and put a lot of pressure on us,” head coach Donald Pettigrew said. “That’s a good team. They went to regionals (last season) so they’re battle-tested.”
Junior forward Xavier Pettigrew left the game after twisting his knee in the second quarter and didn’t return. He was the team’s leading scorer (10 points) at the time of his injury.
“He had it going. That kind of hurt us a little bit,” Pettigrew said of Xavier’s injury.
Hoke’s run-and-gun style of play caused problems for Richmond throughout the game with Johnson leading the charge. The Bucks’ senior point guard would either find his way to the basket or dish the ball to a shooter waiting in the corner.
He would finish with a second-best 18 points and dish out a number of assists, some of them going to teammate Silas Love — who added 15 points for the home team.
“He’s a Division I prospect,” Pettigrew said of Johnson. “He can shoot it, drive it, doesn’t force shots and he did a good job of taking care of the ball. That’s tough to beat.”
Richmond didn’t struggle with scoring the ball like it did at Jack Britt on Tuesday, as it had three players finish with more than 10 points. Junior guard Malik Stanback made four three-pointers on his way to a team-high 14 points and senior forward Malik Flowers chipped in 10.
“I liked the effort better tonight,” Pettigrew said. “We’re still trying to build that confidence going forward.”
NO ANSWER FOR MATTHEWS
RAEFORD — A number of missed opportunites on the offensive end of the floor and a heavy dose of Hoke County’s Mahogany Matthews led to the Lady Raiders dropping their fourth consecutive game Friday night.
Richmond (1-5, 1-3 SAC) kept things close late in the fourth quarter, and even took a brief one-point lead following a pair of free throws from senior forward Saleemah Brown, but ultimately lost 42-35 to Matthews and the Lady Bucks.
Neither team got off to a hot start scoring the ball, as there were only a combined 11 points scored in the first quarter. Matthews recorded all six points for Hoke (5-4, 3-1 SAC) while Jakerra Covington, Lexyonna Ingram and Layne Maultsby split the scoring duties for the Lady Raiders.
Sophomore guard Keionna Love hit a three-pointer midway through the second quarter in order to tie the game 14-14, but those would be the last points Richmond scored before halftime. Hoke went into the locker room with a 19-14 lead after Cimone Alicea banked in a shot from half court right before the buzzer.
Matthews, who finished with 14 blocks, recorded 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half.
The Lady Raiders outscored the home team 12-7 in the first few minutes of the third quarter and were able to take their second lead of the night thanks to Brown’s makes from the charity stripe. Matthews’ and-one layup, however, gave Hoke the one-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Things got a bit more chippy and intense in the final stanza with both teams struggling to put points on the board while fighting for another conference win. Hoke fell behind briefly before taking its lead back and then sealing the deal with an Alexxis Tolbert layup.
Brown led the way for Richmond with 10 points, Love was second with nine points and Ingram chipped in seven.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.