Important win to start league

Important win to start league

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Important win to start league

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HUNTINGTON, Ind.

Richmond is a team that can do a lot on the basketball court.

Exhibit A: The defensive pressure the Red Devils applied to build double-digit leads in both the second and third quarters.

Exhibit B: Richmond’s ability to match a dangerous Huntington North team from the 3-point line.

The Red Devils remain undefeated and are now 1-0 in the North Central Conference following Friday’s 74-51 road victory over the Vikings.

Mike Tillman scored a game-high 20 points — and went 6-of-8 in 3-pointers — as RHS won a third straight road game to improve to 5-0.

“We knew they were going to be a tough team. They had a nice student section,” Tillman said. “We just had to come out and attack them early, get out on their shooters and pressure them.”

That pressure led to some critical Red Devil runs.

Richmond rattled off a 10-2 roll at the midpoint of the second quarter, then strung together 12 straight points in the third quarter to surge ahead 47-32.

The Vikings never got within 12 from that point on.

“We can do some different stuff,” said RHS coach Joe Luce. “We can play fast. We can play in a half-court. We can play man. We can play some zone. I think we’ll just continue to find out what our strengths are.

“Overall, a great win.”

And yet another balanced one, too.

Joel Okafor scored 12 points, Davious Webster finished with nine and a team-high five rebounds and Kendal Baker scored seven for RHS.

Abdul Shabazz, Auntonio Brown and Devin Thomas scored six points each, with Isaiah Rader, Nick Thomas and Zach Lett also scoring for the Red Devils.

“Driving two-and-a-half hours down here, and getting the win, it’s the best feeling. It showed we came here ready to play,” Okafor said.

Richmond has been ready in all three of its road trips. The Red Devils halted Connersville last Friday, then stopped Taylor County (Ky.) the following night as part of a showcase in Louisville, Ky.

The road games continue tonight. Richmond is at Upper Arlington in Columbus, Ohio.

“We’re really trying to be mature about this — when we play at home, when we play away,” Tillman said. “We just try to take pride and represent wherever we go.”

Both teams hit eight 3-pointers, with Baker and Okafor joining Tillman’s six for RHS. Keaton Irwin led Huntington’s scoring effort with 15, while Caleb Landrum added 14.

Tillman and Okafor had four rebounds each, with Brown and Lett adding three.

Richmond joined Muncie Central, Marion and Anderson as 1-0 teams in the NCC.

“It’s good to start the conference 1-0 and keep going like that,” Okafor said.

Added Luce: “We have no chance to win this conference without going 1-0. Ultimately, anytime you get a win, we’re satisfied, and I think tonight, not only did we win, but we got better. We just want to keep going at it and find a way to put ourselves in position to play meaningful games down the road.”

Luce was impressed with his team’s performance on the court, and its character off it. Richmond and Huntington played a girls-boys doubleheader, with a Special Olympics game featuring Huntington Red and White in between the two varsity contests.

All four teams cheered for game, with RHS athletic director Chad Bolser serving as a referee.

“The character of our kids and the character of the Huntington kids came out so strong before the game with the activities they were a part of,” Luce said.

Richmond is 2-0 against Upper Arlington the past two seasons, though both of those games were played at Tiernan Center.

“They’re very well-coached. They’re very disciplined,” Luce said. “It will be a different atmosphere again, and will test us in a different way. We’ll see just how tough we are after a long weekend.”

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