The injury bug has bitten the Red Devils.
Friday night’s win over National Trail was an example of how Richmond’s girls basketball team responds to adversity — and how the Red Devils have developed depth for the 2013-14 season.
Mackenzie Taylor poured in a game-high 20 points in limited time, and senior Bailey Hillard added 11 in Richmond’s 50-30 win over its Ohio foe at Tiernan Center.
Taylor’s minutes have been scaled back after an ACL tear in the summer, and the Red Devils were also playing without freshman point guard Destiny Perkins, who sprained an ankle in practice.
They were also soon without 6-foot freshman Lexus Perkins, who injured her knee early in the second quarter.
The Red Devils still surged ahead, leading 12-0 after one quarter and 24-6 by halftime on the way to a 2-0 start to the year.
“With teammates down, it’s good to keep winning and persevere through all of it,” said Hillard, who also had four rebounds.
Hillard helped RHS to a fast start, swishing a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter.
Taylor and the Red Devils extended the lead even more in the second half. The junior netted 10 points in the third quarter as Richmond held a 36-8 advantage with 5:32 left in the frame.
“I’m really, really proud of our kids,” said RHS coach Casey Pohlenz. “We talk about toughness. We talk about passion. We talk about commitment to defense. I thought we had those things tonight.
“It hurts, the kids that we’re down, and Lex getting hurt in the game. … It seemed like just different kids stepped up.”
Brandi Sims scored six points for RHS, with Sarah Richards adding five points and four rebounds. Hannah Goddard and Paetyn Claiborne each finished with three points and four rebounds, with Lilly Sagna adding four rebounds.
“We’re really coming together with all the injuries,” Hillard said. “We’re picking it up and playing well as a team.”
The Blazers (0-1) got on the scoreboard when Andrea Hunt banked in a jump shot early in the second quarter.
National Trail ended the third quarter with a flurry, pulling within 39-23 after an 11-0 run that stretched into the fourth.
Kate Deaton led the Blazers with 10 points and six rebounds, while Hunt had four points and a game-high nine rebounds, Rachel Sibila scored seven and Alexus Acton added six rebounds.
“I’m proud of the way they kept fighting in the second half,” said National Trail coach Troy Ferguson. “I told them at halftime they are too good of a shooting team to score six points in a half.”
The Blazers return to action Tuesday at home against Twin Valley South.
“We didn’t give up. We fought back,” Ferguson said. “Defensively, I can’t complain about the effort they gave us.
“Offensive-wise, we have to take care of the basketball. We’ll learn from it. That’s why I like this game. It’s an early indicator of what we have to get better at right away.”
Richmond returns to action Nov. 30 at home with Rushville as part of a boys-girls basketball doubleheader. The RHS boys play Dayton (Ohio) Marshall at 6 p.m., followed by the girls game.
Rushville advanced to the semistate in Class 3A last season.
“It’ll be a good test of our toughness again, fighting through some adversity,” Pohlenz said. “We’re banged up right now and we have some we have to fight through.
“I’m looking forward to it. Anytime you get a chance to play a team of that caliber, it gives you a good measuring stick.”