Balanced effort gives Devils No. 19

Balanced effort gives Devils No. 19

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Balanced effort gives Devils No. 19

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Richmond’s depth was on display one more time in the regular season Friday night.

So were the Red Devils’ six seniors.

Mike Tillman scored a game-high 20 points, Devin Thomas added 13 points and six rebounds and Class 4A No. 7 Richmond rolled to win No. 19 by stopping Indianapolis Manual 86-46 at Tiernan Center.

Tillman and Thomas were two of six seniors honored before the game, Richmond’s last before the start of the sectional tournament next week. All six seniors contributed — Tillman, Nick Thomas, Abdul Shabazz, Kendal Baker and Zach Lett started the game, with Devin Thomas soon coming in off the bench.

“It means a lot, definitely to us as seniors,” Tillman said of ending the regular season with a win.

A total of 17 Red Devils saw action, with 12 scoring points in the victory.

Isaiah Rader netted 11 points, with Baker providing nine on a trio of 3-pointers and Lett scoring seven.

Bryce Austin added six points, Davious Webster five and Shabazz and Auntonio Brown four each. Joel Okafor, Daric Clemens and Jacob Weiss also scored for RHS.

“I thought we played the right way,” said RHS coach Joe Luce. “I thought we respected the game, as far as doing things fundamentally sound and taking care of the basketball. Ultimately, it was a step forward tonight.”

The Red Devils took big steps toward another home victory in the first quarter.

Tied 8-8, Devin Thomas started a 13-2 run for the Red Devils with a one-handed dunk midway through the frame.

Thomas finished with eight of his points in the first quarter, and Tillman ended the period with the first of six 3-pointers.

“It was just a big win for us to end the season,” Tillman said.

“I had an all right night shooting the ball tonight. I’ve been kind of in a slump. Definitely trying to get in the rhythm for Tuesday.”

Tuesday marks the start of sectional play for the Red Devils, who face Mt. Vernon (Fortville) at 7 p.m. in the opening game of Class 4A Sectional 9 at New Castle Fieldhouse.

Richmond halted Mt. Vernon 47-34 last Saturday. Friday’s win over Manual was the fifth straight for the Devils, and their 11th in 12 games.

“I thought that mentally you could tell that our focus was different than we played last Saturday,” Luce said. “I told them, we can’t have two games in a row where we’re not ready to play. While I thought we played hard at Mt. Vernon last week, we weren’t as prepared to play an entire game, and tonight we were. I thought it showed in our play.”

Tillman scored 11 in the second quarter as RHS took a 45-18 lead into halftime.

Shabazz grabbed a game-high seven rebounds, with Brown adding six, Okafor four and Tillman and Lett three each.

“It (the win) was a big deal, especially because we want to have momentum going into sectionals,” Lett said. “I felt like we really didn’t play well against Mt. Vernon last time, and we needed a win here.”

Terrill May scored 19 points to lead the Redskins (8-12), who are coached by Ryan Baumgartner, the son of former Richmond standout Rick Baumgartner and the grandson of legendary former RHS head coach Dick Baumgartner.

Stanley Hedrick added 13 points for Manual.

“It was really exciting. It was a little emotional, but we just had to get in the groove of the game,” Lett said. “We started out a little bit slow, but then we picked it up.”

Richmond ends the regular season 19-2, the program’s best regular-season mark since finishing 20-2 in 1987-88. That was also the last time the Red Devils won an outright North Central Conference title, before this year’s team accomplished that feat with last week’s 81-73 win over Kokomo.

“As a group, I don’t know there’s a way to describe them (the seniors), other than they are just unbelievably unselfish,” Luce said. “They really do care about each other more than they do themselves. They have spread that through our entire program. We’ve had great senior classes here, great individual players who have graduated and went on, but as a group of six, I don’t think there is a more complete group as far as being unselfish.

“They are winners. Their 19-2 record is indicative of the work they’ve put in.”

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