It’s a rematch for the Red Devils.
Richmond will once again see Columbus North in the semifinals of the Bob Wettig Memorial Tournament as the two square off at 1 p.m. today at Tiernan Center.
Columbus North knocked off the Red Devils in last year’s semifinal round. RHS reached this year’s semis with a 63-53 victory over Bishop Chatard on Friday.
Guerin Catholic takes on Jeffersonville at 11:30 a.m. in the other semifinal. The championship tips off at 7:30 p.m.
“I remember Columbus North knocking off a group of seniors that wanted to win,” said RHS coach Joe Luce. “Hopefully we can pick up those guys and definitely come ready to play and get a chance to play in the championship game.”
Richmond’s Charles Hampton led all scorers with a game-high 26 points, while Joel Okafor delivered 13 points and seven rebounds.
Shots didn’t fall early for the Devils. That changed in a hurry.
Trailing 10-4 late in the first quarter, RHS tied the game with a 6-0 run to close out the frame.
Richmond added to that with 14 straight points in the second quarter, with all but two of them coming off 3-pointers.
Okafor started the barrage with a trey at 5:43, and the sophomore guard followed that with a dish to Jai Wright off a turnover.
Hampton, Michael Tillman and Nathan Jones then drilled back-to-back 3-pointers — three of six the Devils drained in the second quarter.
Hampton hit two more before halftime, going into the break with 12 points as RHS led 32-17.
“It’s a ballclub that’s just trying to improve every day,” Luce said of the Red Devils. “I think we made strides.”
The Red Devils carried the momentum into the start of the third quarter. RHS scored the first seven points of the second half, and by the time Joel Okafor converted a layup off a steal at 5:42, the Devils’ lead stood at 22.
That, though, was Richmond’s last field goal until a Davious Webster steal and lay-in under the basket with 2:59 left in the game.
Chatard made RHS work for the win. The Trojans pulled within six points a few times, but Hampton hit eight free throws in the fourth quarter and Webster made a key steal and layup late to keep Chatard from getting too close.
“We played probably 20 minutes out of 32. We have to be good for more minutes,” Luce said. “Long story short is we found a way to win and fought through some adversity when the game changed in the fourth quarter, and I’m proud of them.”
Much of that adversity came from Chatard’s Stan Jackson, who led the Trojans with 15 points.
Jackson hit four straight free throws after he was fouled and RHS was hit with a technical that gave Chatard a late boost. Teammates Delano Coffey and Patrick Huffine each added 11 points.
Webster scored nine for the Red Devils, who improved to 7-2.
Columbus North advanced to the semifinals with a 53-45 win over Tipton on Friday. The Bull Dogs are the defending Wettig champions, having knocked off Richmond 70-69 and Guerin Catholic 54-49 in successive games during last year’s tournament.
“They’re a very good team,” Luce said of the Bull Dogs. “A lot of size. They play hard.”