McCutcheon girls basketball coach Jeff Knoy called Richmond the best team he has seen in the Mavericks’ first year in the North Central Conference.
Richmond’s Mackenzie Taylor passes the ball against McCutcheon’s Kerstyn Lowery during a basketball game in the Tiernan Center, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.
The conference standings say the same thing after the Red Devils improved to 5-0 Saturday, defeating the Mavericks 55-42 in a matchup of the last NCC unbeatens.
Destiny Perkins scored 31 points and had nine rebounds, while Mackenzie Taylor returned from injury with 11 rebounds and nine points to lead the Red Devils.
“Those two guards are very, very good,” Knoy said of Perkins and Taylor. “I know Taylor kid’s hurt a little bit with her knee and a little limited, but I thought she did a great job rebounding the basketball. … They’re two really good guards. Their big kids rebounded well, make shots when they need to.”
Saturday’s Richmond team was a completely different team from the one that lost to Mt. Vernon Tuesday night.
The Red Devils snapped a three-game losing streak in the process and jumped out to an early 13-point lead.
They led 22-12 after the first quarter, 36-19 at halftime and 40-27 after three quarters.
“We definitely played together,” Taylor said. “We came back and we had a really good week of practice. … We got in the gym, got after it, had some really good practices Thursday and Friday. That helped us a lot. We came together and played together.”
Taylor and Lexus Perkins were both out with injuries that game, and both made their returns Saturday.
“We really put Tuesday night behind us and took a big step,” Richmond coach Casey Pohlenz said. “I mean that’s a really good McCutcheon team … we’re fortunate that we got out to a big lead, got a little stagnant, but we came back, I can’t say enough about what.”
Claiborne added six points for Richmond, Lexus Perkins added four, Tahsiah Ferguson three and Hannah Goddard two.
Becca Spitalniak led McCutcheon with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Kerstyn Lowery added 13 points, Allison Boardman added eight, Gabby Gary four and Claire Wiedeman two.
Richmond returns to action Tuesday at Tiernan Center against Connersville.
The Red Devils also play a girls-boys doubleheader next Friday, this time on the road at Lafayette Jeff.
Richmond’s last NCC games are Friday at Lafayette Jeff, Jan. 23 at home against Logansport, Jan. 30 at home against Marion and Feb. 6 at Harrison.
“We’ve got to worry about Monday,” Pohlenz said. “We’ve got to get in a good practice on Monday, but definitely we’ve put ourselves in the driver’s seat. We can only look at that when we get to it. Right now we just have to focus on what’s in front of us.”