Destiny Perkins leads the team with 23.4 points per game.
Mackenzie Taylor is first with 5.2 assists and 4.1 steals, and Hannah Goddard with 5.7 rebounds per contest.
But none of those stats come up when Richmond’s girls basketball team tries to explain why the Red Devils are where they are.
“The key for us is the chemistry,” said sophomore Lexus Perkins, who chips in 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. “We really talk about family a lot, and when we talk about it, it’s not just something we say; it’s something we mean. Family is a big part of everything we do, so I think our chemistry is what helps us a lot.”
This Richmond family brings a 20-6 record into Saturday’s Decatur Central regional, along with its first North Central Conference and sectional championships since 2000.
The Red Devils are playing their best basketball at the right time, and will have to do so as they face a tournament field as the only team not ranked in the state.
Lawrence North (25-1) finished the season ranked third in the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Class 4A state poll and meets No. 8-ranked Mooresville (24-4) in the 10 a.m. semifinal.
Richmond meets No. 12 Pike (19-7) at 11:30 with the championship scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“Chemistry is huge,” Richmond coach Casey Pohlenz said. “These kids like each other, they like each other off the floor. They compete, they motivate, they’re together. They share their joys together, they’re friends. Chemistry is the best it’s ever been and I think that really helps us.”
Pohlenz often starts talking about his team’s strengths. Once he starts naming key players, he doesn’t stop.
Seniors Taylor and Paetyn Claiborne bring their leadership; Goddard and Lexus Perkins hit the boards hard; Taylor and Destiny Perkins are the go-to scorers, and the bench makes all the big plays.
Taylor, recently named to Indiana Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s top 100 senior list, has committed to play for NCAA Division I Wright State University.
She overcame a torn ACL before her junior year and also missed two games with injury this season, but still ranks among Richmond’s all-time scoring leaders, male or female.
Taylor enters Saturday’s game with 1,660 points, fifth all time and third among girls basketball players.
Lisa Shepherd is the all-time scoring leader at 2,140, followed by sister Stacie Shepherd (1,926), Woody Austin (1,990), Dominic James (1,652), Taylor and Jon Trawick (1,277).
“Mackenzie’s a great player, that’s why she’s going to play where she’s going to play,” sophomore Destiny Perkins said.
Perkins is quickly climbing the ladder, too, as she and Taylor provide a powerful 1-2 punch.
Perkins scored 60 points over the three-game sectional tournament, while Taylor finished with 55.
Claiborne, Lexus Perkins and Goddard make up the rest of the starting five, with Tahsiah Ferguson, Raya Fields, Rachelle Hall, Lilly Sagna and Kalianna Lauderdale contributing off the bench.
“It’s really rewarding,” Taylor said. “Our hard work that we put in since freshman year is really starting to pay off, me and Paetyn, trying to build this program and make it go in a positive direction, winning those two things, I think we’re heading that way.”
Richmond’s sectional title was the program’s ninth, while the NCC championship was just the fourth.
The Red Devils also won sectional titles in 1978, 1979, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991 and 2000 and conference titles in 1985, 1990 and 2000. Their lone regional title came in 2000.
“It means a lot,” Goddard said. “I never thought that I could ever accomplish something so big and just doing it with the girls that I love is just a really big accomplishment.”
At a Glance
• What: IHSAA Class 4A girls basketball regional
• When/where: Saturday at Decatur Central High School
• Cost: $7 per session or $10 for both sessions
• 10 a.m.: Mooresville vs. Lawrence North
• 11:30: Richmond vs. Pike
• 7 p.m.: Championship
• Next: Regional championship meets Bedford North Lawrence regional champion Feb. 28 at Richmond or Jeffersonville semistate.