Friday, 28 January 2022 22:54

Downpour of three-pointers boosts Raiders past Bucks, return to win column

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Senior Deshon Watson (4) watches as one of his career-high six three-pointers falls into the basket during Friday's win. Senior Deshon Watson (4) watches as one of his career-high six three-pointers falls into the basket during Friday's win. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — It was raining three-pointers inside Raider Gymnasium during Friday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference win for Richmond.

Using a season-high 12 three-pointers from four different players, the Raiders returned to the win column with a 76-64 victory over Hoke County High School.

Two nights after losing to Pinecrest and falling into a tie for first place, the Raiders were all business against the fourth-place Bucks with four players in double digits. 

In his first game back after missing four games, senior Deshon Watson led the charge in scoring, netting a career-high 18 points. He scored all of his points on three-pointers, including four in the second half.

Sophomores Paul McNeil and Jamarion Wall each chipped in 17 points, with Wall recording four triples in the win. 

Junior Dakota Chavis ended the game with a double-double, netting 11 points (one three-pointer) and dishing out 11 assists. McNeil accounted for the other three-pointer.

Head coach Donald Pettigrew explained the team was dialed in on Friday, wanting to put the loss behind them and move forward in the right direction.

“It was a good night for us and we just wanted to get that nasty taste out of our mouths,” Pettigrew said. “We have a lot of respect for Hoke County and Coach (Quame) Patterson and what they can do. This was a good win for us.

“Deshon called me last night and said he was ready to come back and he got a lot of shots up after practice,” he added. “He locked in and he was one of the keys we were missing. He really adds to our depth, does a lot of the little things and then hit six big threes for us.”

The Raiders and Bucks played an even first quarter with both teams battling down low for buckets. Wall hit a putback for the game’s first points and added a three-pointer from the left corner and the subsequent foul shot for his six points.

Sophomore Jamarion Wall (15) pulls up for a three-pointer in the first half. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

An early jumper from McNeil gave him two points, but foul trouble sidelined him for the majority of the first half. Watson hit the first of his six three-pointers from the right corner in the final minute.

Junior Zion Baldwin, who ended with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds, scored five points in the first, including a shot off the glass to put Richmond up 16-15 after one.

A couple of early ties in the second quarter was broken when Hoke County took a one-point lead after a pair of free throws by Salah Sutton. But Watson rattled home another triple on the next possession, and a layup by sophomore Javian Drake started a run for Richmond.

Adding to that spurt was Chavis, who scored eight of his 11 points in the second. He started with an old-fashioned three-point play and followed with a deep triple from the top of the arc. He also had two free throws.

Leading 29-21, Richmond allowed the Bucks (8-4, 4-4 SAC) to go on a 6-0 run to make it a two-point game. At the break, the Raiders led 31-29.

The third quarter was the period of three-pointers for the Raiders, who connected on six shots from downtown. Watson sandwiched two triples from the right side in the opening minutes around another three-ball from McNeil, who returned to the floor.

That 9-0 run put Richmond ahead 11 points, which later grew to 16 points thanks to a Wall three-pointer. 

In the closing 30 seconds, Watson and Wall continued to find their groove from opposite corners, tacking on one more triple apiece. After three complete, the Raiders led 57-40.

“We shoot a lot of threes anyway, we just knocked them down tonight and that developed as the game went on,” Pettigrew explained. “Once Jamarion gets going like he did tonight, he’s tough.

“Paul was in foul trouble early and Jamarion was one of the guys who stepped up. Dakota had 11 assists and that’s big time when guys are knocking shots when he’s passing the ball.”

Junior Dakota Chavis (5) looks to pass the ball in the first half of Friday’s win over Hoke County. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Watson and Wall each scored one more three-pointer in the final quarter, and a bucket from Drake and a free throw from Chavis added three more points.

McNeil came alive in the fourth, netting 10 points in eight minutes. He hit three field goals and four free throws.

Helping keep the Bucks close was Jeremiah Melvin, who tallied a game-high 34 points, including 19 points in the second half. Teammate Jordan Maynor contributed 13 points in the loss.

Richmond (16-1, 6-1 SAC) will host third-place Union Pines High School (15-3, 5-2 SAC) on Tuesday. Looking for the season sweep, the Raiders will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.

“Now we want to get the guys healthy and get back to work on Monday at practice,” Pettigrew closed. “We’ll get ready for a scrappy Union Pines team and continue to believe in the process.”

Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni.

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