ROCKINGHAM — Now that the new year is here, it’s back to business for the Lady Raiders basketball team.
Richmond (3-6, 1-3 SAC) was off all last week and will have to quickly find its rhythm ahead of Friday’s home game versus conference foe Lumberton — who it hasn’t defeated in almost four years.
The last time the Lady Raiders hit the court was at the Anson County Invitational two weeks ago, where they held off Anson’s late rally in the opening round but couldn’t get past Parkwood in the championship game. Sophomore guards Allexis Swiney and Keionna Love led the charge with a combined 22 points against the Lady Bearcats.
Head coach Rosalind McDonald hopes that kind of play from both Swiney and Love — two of her best scorers — continues while the team figures out a way to consistently close out tight games, as only two of its six losses have been by more than 10 points. Richmond fell 57-42 at Clayton in early December and then lost 62-52 to Pinecrest two days later.
Other than that, the Lady Raiders have had a chance in every game they’ve played this season.
Missed free throws and turnovers haunted them in a 55-51 loss at Fairmont to open the season; an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter suddenly vanished in a 45-42 defeat at Jack Britt; too much Mahogany Matthews led to a 42-35 loss at Hoke County; and they just didn’t have enough in the 70-64 loss to Parkwood.
“We always tell them that they have to fight until the end. Even when you’re down just a little bit, there’s still opportunities for us to come back and make defensive plays,” McDonald said last month. “We still need to execute, play tough defense and look to score the basketball … but sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we want it to.”
Richmond will look to kick off 2018 with a home victory when it welcomes the Lady Pirates at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5.
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.