Monday, 20 January 2020 15:55

Lady Raiders bounce Village Christian in MLK Dream Jam

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Senior Jardai Tillman (54) puts in two of her six points, but it was her defense that helped the Lady Raiders win. Senior Jardai Tillman (54) puts in two of her six points, but it was her defense that helped the Lady Raiders win. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

FAYETTEVILLE — The pieces continue to fall in place for the Richmond Senior High School girls’ basketball team as it picked up its 12th win of the season Monday.

Taking a day off from the classroom to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Lady Raiders traveled to Terry Sanford to compete in the inaugural six-team MLK Dream Jam. 

Richmond played in the second of the three girls’ games, using a strong defensive effort and three double-digit scorers to bounce Village Christian Academy 55-37.

Leading the way in the scoring column was senior point guard Keionna Love, who put up a game-high 16 points for the Lady Raiders. Chipping in with 12 points was junior guard Jayla McDougald and junior forward Jakerra Covington added 11 points.

For the Lady Knights, Truth King scored 15 points, while Khalan Williams added 11 points in the loss.

The win for Richmond made it the most in a single season since winning 13 games during the 2013-2014 season.

“It was a good game today and we made very good adjustments on the defensive end,” head coach Teddy Moseley said, returning to the team following a one-game absence. “We were able to put a lot of defensive pressure on their guards, which limited the number of touches No. 24 (Daja Turner) had.

“The way our guards played defense played a very big role in how we played tonight,” he added. “Jardai Tillman played a great defensive game. She’s been playing well the past eight or nine games, she wanted more playing time, and she’s earned it.”

In the opening quarter, Richmond jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes, which forced Village Christian to call a timeout. The Lady Knights responded by pulling within two points, but Love netted the final four of her seven first-quarter points to take a 13-8 lead into the second.

During the first, Love banged home two three-pointers from the right wing, while Tillman, Bree Wall and Davionna Campbell each scored a field goal.

The second quarter proved to be a series of runs by both teams, starting with the Lady Raiders rolling out on a 9-0 run. Love completed a three-point play from the line, as Covington hit a bucket and McDougald splashed in a three-ball. Jasmine Ewing netted the first of her three points.

Following McDougald’s second three of the frame, Richmond went up by 19 points.

But King, Turner and Williams took over the latter half of the second quarter, helping Village Christian (7-8) close on a 12-4 run to close the halftime deficit to just nine points, 26-17. 

The trio of Lady Knights used a series of field goals and free throws to edge closer to Richmond. The Lady Raiders’ scoring went silent for the final 4:23 of the half.

But Moseley’s squad starting clicking again on both ends of the court to start the third stanza, seeing Covington net six points in the quarter. She scored two transition layups, one coming on a steal, and hit a mid-range jumper.

Ewing, McDougald and Tillman each knocked down a free throw to maintain a 13-point lead heading into the fourth.

Richmond’s highest scoring quarter was the fourth, seeing 16 more points go up to pull away for good. Love, who didn’t score in the third, proved to be big with her final six points in the game, all coming in the final two minutes.

McDougald chipped in with four points late, with Covington, Campbell and Tillman each polishing the win with a final basket.

“Keionna is our motor to get everyone involved and she made some great passes,” Moseley said. “With Jayla and Jakerra and Keionna being in the game, we need to get those three going. These three played a great game tonight."

Since moving over to the primary point guard position, Love has continued to emerge as both a dominant floor general and the leading scorer.

“It’s a great feeling to be trusted by the coaches to score,” Love said. “But if I eat, the team eats. If I can get my teammates involved and they can score, it always looks good across the board.

“Putting these wins together, it’s a momentum builder,” she added. “It’s getting our confidence up for the next conference game, which is where we want to win so we can get closer to the top.”

“The girls are growing every day, they’re helping me grow as a coach every day, and that’s what it’s all about,” Moseley closed. “We’re going to make mistakes, but we’re doing a much better job of playing through our mistakes. That’s what’s important right now.”

Richmond (12-5, 3-4 Sandhills Athletic Conference) will return to conference play on Tuesday at Purnell Swett High School (9-6, 5-2 SAC). The Lady Raiders will look to avenge a 43-38 loss to the Lady Rams from the second week of the season. Tip is set for 6 p.m. in Pembroke.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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