Cougars next in Devils' path

Cougars next in Devils' path

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Cougars next in Devils' path

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Greenfield-Central is the next obstacle in Richmond’s postseason path.

The Red Devils will see the Cougars for the first time since 2010 when they meet at 6 tonight in the semifinals of Class 4A Sectional 9 at New Castle Fieldhouse.

Seventh-ranked RHS opened the tournament Tuesday with a 58-43 victory over Mt. Vernon (Fortville) as the Red Devils seek their first sectional championship since 1996.

Pendleton Heights plays New Castle in the second semifinal. The championship game is 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m really excited to play Friday,” RHS junior Isaiah Rader said after scoring eight points in the win over Mt. Vernon. “We’re just going to have to bring our defense, same intensity.”

Greenfield (5-17) drew the bye to the semifinal round. Pendleton Heights halted Anderson 47-33 on Wednesday, with New Castle winning 50-43 over Connersville.

Greenfield played in Richmond’s annual Bob Wettig Tournament in January, though the Red Devils and Cougars did not meet then.

Greenfield earned its first victory of the season at the tournament, defeating Fox Creek Christian (Ky.) 71-57.

The Cougars ended their regular season winning three of their last five. Greenfield earned victories over Knightstown, Shelbyville and Lincoln, but fell to Rushville and Connersville.

“It’s a team that comes in and plays some young guys, a team that has, in my opinion, continued to play very hard throughout the season, even with some difficult losses,” RHS coach Joe Luce said of Greenfield. “We just need to hopefully again establish some defensive presence. Offensively, get some confidence and find a way to play 32 more minutes and get a win.”

The Red Devil defense did its job Tuesday night, limiting Mt. Vernon to five points in the first quarter and 13 points by halftime.

Senior Kendal Baker led Richmond in scoring with 15 points — all in the second half — with Mike Tillman adding nine and Joel Okafor and Auntonio Brown scoring six each as the Red Devils rose to 20-2.

Tillman leads RHS with 15.4 points per game, followed by 9.1 from Davious Webser, 8.7 by Okafor and Baker’s 7.5.

Zach Lett is Richmond’s leading rebounder with 5.5 per game. Okafor averages 4.5 rebounds and a team-high 5.9 assists, with Webster dishing 4.5 assists.

“We have to get more of an offensive flow,” Tillman said. “Our defense has been the story all year, so we have to get some better offense.”

Greenfield averages 53.8 points per game. The Richmond defense is limiting opponents to 50.7 per contest.

“As we continue to move forward and get to Friday, and hopefully get through that and play Saturday, we just continue to look for more crowd support and more fans,” Luce said. “That’s been a big key for us, our fans being behind us all year. Our kids feel that and that’s something we’re going to need as we move forward.”

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