Back-to-back games. Back-to-back wins for the Red Devils.
Richmond swept a weekend doubleheader at Tiernan Center by stopping Upper Arlington (Ohio) 43-28 on Saturday. The Red Devils also knocked off Lafayette Jeff 58-41 on Friday night.
Devil defense played a critical role in both victories.
Richmond slammed the door on Arlington in the fourth quarter, holding the Golden Bears to zero points in that final period of play.
“They say defense makes offense. I think the offense we got was from our defense,” said Richmond’s Joel Okafor, who finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. “We just got steals and we got easy points.”
For a second straight night, the high points went to Richmond’s Charles Hampton.
The senior scored 20 on Saturday, one night after netting 21 against Lafayette Jeff.
“I’m just happy we got the win,” Hampton said. “If we play hard and we keep our edge, we’re going to keep winning.”
They kept up the energy from one night to the next.
RHS surged to a 9-1 lead, and held an 11-6 advantage after one quarter. Arlington’s first points came at 3:48 of the first with a free throw, and the Golden Bears’ first field goal connected at 2:29
That soon changed.
Arlington went on a 7-2 run to start the second quarter, and tied the game 13-all on a basket by Logan Richter with 5:17 left in the first half.
Hampton quickly gave RHS its lead back, and the Devils maintained that advantage as they headed into halftime leading 20-17.
“We had more of an edge,” said RHS senior Jai Wright. “It felt like we had a lot more energy. We were more excited this weekend.
“It was really more about having fun, and we had a lot of fun.”
Hampton led another Red Devil charge, this one to start the second half.
The senior drilled his first three shots of the third quarter — two of them 3-pointers — as Richmond extended its lead to 30-19 with 10 straight points.
“Coach Luce has a lot of trust in me with the shots I take,” Hampton said. “If I get open, I’m just going to shoot it with confidence.”
Patient Upper Arlington was quick to respond.
The Golden Bears started dropping treys of their own, and cut the deficit to 32-28 heading into the final quarter.
Richmond’s defense took over, and the Devils closed the game with a 13-0 run to improve to 5-2.
“It makes everything easier on the other end,” Wright said of the Devils’ defense.
Davious Webster added six points for Richmond, and Abdul Shabazz grabbed three rebounds while battling foul trouble throughout.
This was the second straight season the Devils have hosted their foe from the Columbus, Ohio, area. RHS won 65-60 last year at Tiernan.
“It’s a very good team that I think got frustrated,” RHS coach Joe Luce said of the Golden Bears. “I think our defense had something to do with it. … Our defensive effort made a big impact on how the second half turned out.”
Richmond returns to action Thursday in the opening round of the sixth annual Bob Wettig Memorial Tournament. The Red Devils face Indianapolis Tindley at 7 p.m. in Tiernan Center.
“It’s great to feel like we’re making some movements forward,” Luce said. “Going into this tournament, which I think is as good a tournament as I’ve ever been involved in, it is obviously a good thing.
“More importantly, I feel like we got something out of the five days, six days, between Huntington North and (Friday). I thought we built on it again tonight.”