Thanks to Indianapolis Pike, Richmond’s boys basketball team avoided facing the top-ranked team in Indiana’s Class 4A for the second straight regional opener.
They’ll still be making that regional trip, though, and it’ll be a battle of Red Devils.
The Richmond Red Devils meet the Pike Red Devils in the 10 a.m. semifinal to kick off today’s IHSAA Class 4A Southport Regional.
No. 10 Lawrence North meets No. 16 Brownsburg at noon with the championship scheduled for 8 p.m. as Richmond seeks its first regional title since winning a state title in 1992.
“We have prepared for Pike and we’re getting ready, as we go, to hopefully know as much as we can,” Richmond coach Joe Luce said. “But also we keep the focus on ourselves and each of our assistants has an assignment to make sure they break down the other two opponents. Whoever we face in the night game, we’ll be ready for them.”
Richmond won its 64th sectional title by defeating Connersville 46-33 last Saturday at New Castle.
A regional championship could give Richmond an opportunity to return to its home court at Tiernan Center, site of a pair of semistates next Saturday.
Pike held off No. 1-ranked Southport to win its fifth straight sectional and 18th overall, 49-48 last Saturday.
“They are a team that has played throughout class basketball into the state tournament deep and so there’s tradition there,” Luce said. “Their younger players have watched their older players win at a high level and hopefully we can put a stop to that with winning a morning game. But it’s a great tradition in that program, especially as of recent years and we’re expected to face a great opponent.”
Richmond fell to eventual state champion Arsenal Tech in last year’s regional semifinal when the Titans were ranked first in the state and went on to win the Class 4A state title.
Southport’s absence makes the Richmond Red Devils (24-3) the top-ranked team remaining in the Southport Regional.
Richmond finished the season tied for ninth in the Class 4A state poll, while Pike was left out of the final rankings after being 16th in the week prior.
NCAA Division I commit Joel Okafor is 10th on Richmond’s all-time scoring list with 1,023 points. He also has 484 rebounds, 587 assists, 225 steals and had a pair of triple-doubles this season.
Davious Webster, who has also received Division I attention, has 934 points, 261 rebounds and 332 assists.
Three Pike Red Devils average about 13 points a game in Tahjai Teague (13.7), Justin Thomas (13.3) and Justin Roberts (13.2).
Derek Hawthorne (9.7) and Jeffery White (9.5) score just under nine a game each, while Teague leads with 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. Thomas is tops in assists (3.6) and steals (2.9).
“We’re just looking forward to, again, what’s a great tournament field,” Luce said. “There’s four great teams there and we feel like we are as good as anybody, if not the best team there, and we want to make sure that our kids feel that. We did this last year and we’ve gotten ourselves into a routine where this week now is part of our season. We just want to go and play our best basketball and look forward to a great crowd following us and hopefully two exciting games at Southport.”
AT A GLANCE
• What: IHSAA Class 4A Southport Regional
• When/where: Starting at 10 a.m. today at Southport
• Cost: $7 per session or $10 for all sessions
• Game 1: Pike vs. Richmond, 10 a.m.
• Game 2: Brownsburg vs. Lawrence North, noon
• Game 3: Championship, 8 p.m.
• Next: Regional champion meets Seymour regional champion in March 21 semistate at Richmond or Seymour.