I’m posting a (should be) short blog today, just to go over Sectional #9 at Muncie Central. (If I haven’t gone over it enough!) I will be attending all of the games and will post updates on my twitter account @ItsASaabStory1, so feel free to monitor twitter if you can’t make it to the games. I won’t “Live Tweet”, but I will post game matchups, Halftime, and Final scores, you know, the “important” things.
Here are the matchups: On Tuesday at 7pm, 2-21 Anderson faces off against 10-11 Mt Vernon. The winner of that game will face 12-12 New Palestine at 6pm Friday. On the other side of the bracket, 8-15 Pendleton Heights will take on 9-13 Muncie Central at 6pm. Directly after that game (around our normal tip time of 7:30) 12-11 Greenfield Central faces off against the 16-7 Red Devils. Winners of those games play the 2nd game Friday. And the winners of those games face off Saturday at 7:30. Pretty simple, right? (I do have the bracket attached for us visual learners as well!)
I would do predictions…but I am superstitious. So, I am not calling these predictions, but…thoughts, yes, I like that word better. Tuesday’s game should be interesting. Anderson can be dangerous, and if Mt Vernon sleeps on them it could make for a LONG bus ride home for the Marauders…that being said, I would imagine the first game Friday will be an HHC matchup. Pendleton Heights is down a man, and the Bearcats have talent, a tougher schedule (according to Sagarin) and this is their house. Greenfield v. Richmond. The Red Devils are on fire, I don’t have to tell you that. Greenfield is scrappy though. They did just drop their last two games to Plainfield and Delta, but they have heart. Richmond will have to play Red Devil basketball from start to finish to ensure a Friday game. I do suspect the late game Friday will be an NCC matchup. Saturday? HHC vs NCC. (I’m playing it safe!) Maybe this wasn’t such a short blog…
This week will be fun. Hoosier Hysteria is here folks, and I intend to soak it up.
Thursday night, the Red Devils traveled to Brookville for their final game of the regular season. Both the Red Devils and the Wildcats of Franklin County High School had just won upset victories the Friday before, and were looking for a final victory to head into Sectional play with momentum.
The Red Devils would strike first, nailing a 3 off the tip, and the lead never changed during the entire game. The Red Devils did try a few new plays, and there was a bit of miscommunication during the first quarter, but after the 2nd quarter started, the Red Devils firmly planted themselves in the driver seat and drove all the way to the finish line. The Red Devil’s largest point differential was 14 points, hitting that number 3 times, during the 2nd quarter, and late in the 4th. Give credit to Franklin County, they hung right with the Red Devils and made it a game, somewhat lopsided but a game non the less. They never allowed Richmond to comfortably run away with the game.
One of the things learned from this game, is to not get comfortable. The Red Devils know they can overcome adversity. Heck, they’ve done that since the beginning of February. But, now that March is here, any team can win at any moment. And the loser? Pack your bags, the ride ends. This game hopefully illustrated to the team that they must play the full 32 minutes of basketball. If this Red Devil team does that, then this March could be a very fun one!
Friday Night the Red Devils traveled to Lafayette to face their toughest opponent of the season, The Lafayette Jeff Bronchos. The #4 ranked Bronchos, leading into the game were perfect against North Central Conference opponents. In fact, they had only lost three games; Lawrence Central (the #1 team in the state), Westfield, and Warren Central of Kentucky. Richmond, on a nine-game win streak, had their work cut out for them. They were already down Drew Kroft, but earlier in the morning, Messiah Tyler became ill, and could not make the trek to Lafayette. For Coach Baz, he knew his team had to strike first, and set the tempo of the game, and his guys had to buy into the fact, that they could win this game if they played Richmond basketball. In a game that saw 7 lead changes and 4 ties, there would be more drama than a soap opera.
Strike first, they did. Richmond won the tip and scored first. They scored 2 unanswered buckets before Jeff returned fire. When Coach Baz and I spoke before the game started, he mentioned that the most important thing Richmond could do was win the 1st 4 minutes of the 1st and 3rd quarters against Lafayette Jeff. In this first quarter, they did just that. But Jeff started to play their game of basketball, and midway through the 1st quarter, The Bronchos took the lead. The quarter wrapped up with Lafayette Jeff up by 5, 17-12.
Lafayette Jeff struck first in the 2nd quarter as well, off a free throw. They started pounding in shots until they were up by 13 points, 25-12. In fact, they had scored 10 unanswered points before Richmond countered with a 3. Richmond popped another 3 to drop that lead to 7 points, but Jeff started to pour more salt in the wounds. By the time the intermission buzzer sounded, Richmond was back where they started the quarter, down by 5, 35-30.
During halftime, Coach Baz preached to his team that the most important thing they could do, is coming out and win the first 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter. When the 3rd quarter started, Richmond did strike first, they also drew a foul which brought Jeff’s lead to just 1. But, the powerful Bronchos started to pepper on the shots, and within 4 minutes, Richmond was down by 12 again. But, the Red Devils kept fighting, kept shooting, kept driving. They finished the quarter, worse than when they started down by 7, 58-51. If anyone said they knew at that point that Richmond would comeback and win…well they are straight lying to your face.
The 4th quarter came down to a battle between Coach Shabaz Khaliq, and Coach Mark Barnhizer. Richmond started Jordan Stole, Koream Jett, Tytan Newton, Ty Harris, and Cleevas Craig. They rotated Rafael Deane, and Dorian Hill in rotation. Lafayette Jeff started Avery Beaver, Ashton Beaver, Brooks Barnhizer, Braxton Barnhizer, and Matthew Jones. They only subbed in one guy, Armoni Williams, who only subbed for Jones. While Coach Baz would give everyone a bit of a rest (when needed) Coach Barnhizer’s strategy was to keep the Beavers and the Barnhizers on the court the entire 32 minutes. Both sets of brothers were incredibly conditioned, but as the tension started to build in Marion Crawley Athletic Center, Richmond’s guys seemed more adapt to the pressure.
The 4th quarter started with Richmond striking first. Jeff returned fire and scored. But then Ty Harris hit a 3. Then Richmond sank another unanswered bucket. The Bronchos fouled, which sent Richmond to the charity stripe. Both buckets landed and brought about a tie game at 60-60! Jeff and Richmond would trade shot back and forth, tying at 63, 65, and finally at 70. Jordan Stolle then shot a 3, putting Richmond in the lead with 1:08 left in the game, forcing Lafayette Jeff to call a time out. After the time out, Jeff had the basketball. As they came into the forecourt, Ty Harris stole the basketball, passed to Tytan Newton who was promptly fouled by Ashton Beaver, which sent Newton to the line for the 1 and 1. Newton made both shots to bring the score to 75-70, as Jeff pushed fast into their court. The Bronchos shot behind the arc, airballed the shot, and in the ensuing commotion, Cleevas Craig fouled with 37.1 left on the clock. The foul happened on the floor, and Richmond still had some to give, so Jeff had to inbound the ball. They inbounded to Braxton Barnhizer, who missed a 3 shot from NBA distance, and was promptly rebounded by Richmond. Matthew Jones fouled Koream Jett to the line with 27.9 seconds left in the game. Koream Jett made both of his shots to bring the score to 77-70. Cleevas Craig fouled Brooks Barnhizer in the next possession, giving Craig his 4th foul, and sending Barnhizer to the line for 2. He missed his first free throw but hit the 2nd. Richmond would inbound on the next possession to a Lafayette Jeff full court press. Brooks Barnhizer’s then fouled Ty Harris to stop the clock, sending Ty to the line for the 1 and 1. Harris missed his free throw attempt with 16 seconds left on the clock, and the ball in the Broncho hands. The Bronchos came into their forecourt, passed the ball around, set up a shot, and took the layup with 6 seconds left on the clock. The score now 77-73. Jordan Stolle, set to inbound for the Red Devils, looked for an open Ty Harris, but as he inbounded the ball, Braxton Barnhizer cut in front of Harris, caught the ball and popped it up for 2. The score was now 77-75 with 2.2 on the clock. Everyone in Marion Crawley Athletic Center were now on their feet. Could Lafayette Jeff force overtime? Could Richmond complete the upset? Only 2.2 seconds remained, and Richmond would have the ball again. Jordan Stolle was the man responsible for inbounding the ball again. The officials blew the whistle to start the possession, Stole struggled to find an open man, and just before a 5 second violation was called, Coach Baz made a game saving call for a Time-Out. And it was close, so close the fans started booing, demanding that the violation be called. After the time out, it was Stole, yet again, the man in charge of inbounding the ball. As the official blew the whistle to initiate play, Richmond, who were lined up on the center logo, scattered and Tytan Newton was able to break free of his defender to pull the ball in. He was promptly fouled by Ashton Beaver with 1.3 left on the board. That would send Newton to the line for 2. Newton nailed his first free throw to make the score 78-75. And then, with ice in his veins, Newton nailed his last free throw to seal the game. The Red Devils, down 2 guys, down by 12 points in the 3rd quarter, came back and defeated the Lafayette Jeff Bronchos.
When interviewing Coach Bennett about the game, he said, the guys know to trust in Coach Baz, and Baz told the team, Lafayette Jeff will allow them enough possessions to come back, if they play Richmond Basketball. And Several 3s from Ty Harris, and Jordan Stole didn’t hurt either. With the victory, Richmond moves to 7-2 in the NCC, tied for 2nd place with Harrison, on a 10 game win streak, and on a roll. They have one more game left in the regular season before Sectional play, and as long as the guys trust in Coach, they could have a very fun month of March.
Friday night the Kokomo Wildkats came to Tiernan bound and determined to ruin Richmond’s Valentine’s night. Richmond started off slow, allowing Kokomo to strike first. In fact, Richmond played Kokomo’s tempo throughout most of the first quarter, before starting to kick on the jets. They finished the quarter 11-7. Once the 2nd quarter kicked off, and Kokomo hit a quick bucket, Richmond kicked on the Jets and never looked back. They finished the half up by 10, the 3rd up by 17, and won by 26. 62-36.
Not only did Richmond find their groove with Ty Harris as a starter, but they also celebrated Coach Baz’s 200th Career win, in their final night at the Tiernan Center this season.
The very next night, The Red Devils hit the road to Logansport, their farthest road trip by one mile. (Harrison is the next furthest, followed by McCutcheon and Lafayette Jeff) The Berry Bowl, home to Felix the Cat, was anything but hospitable, as the Berries wanted to cool a Red-Hot Red Devils team, that was on an 8 game win streak.
It appeared, that the Berries came prepared to extinguish Richmond, as they commanded the 1st quarter. The quarter ended 8-5 with the Berries in the lead. We use the expression that “the teams are almost like boxers, feeling each other out in the first round.” That’s exactly what the Red Devils were doing, and they started to command the hardwood, and forced Logansport to play Richmond’s game. The Red Devils went into intermission up by 11 28-17, finished the 3rd up by 15 42-27, and defeated the Berries up 20 70-50.
In both games, the JV squad came out to finish both games, although they came out a bit earlier in the Kokomo game. Both games taught the Red Devils a lesson: They must play a full 4 quarters of a game. They can’t let off the gas at all, or else their win streak could end. After pulling a victory in Logansport, they had just one more NCC rival to play, and that team is arguably the hardest team they have faced all year. But on a 9 game win streak, this Red Devil team is ready for the challenge.
Final score Kokomo: 62-36
Final score Logansport: 70-50
Thursday, the Red Devils made the trip to Anderson to face the Indians who, just like Muncie Central, are North Central Conference rivals and a potential sectional opponent. The young Indians ball team had only won one game before Thursday but looking at the scores of those games, hadn’t been blown out. In fact, several games were very close. Also, for the Red Devils, they would be without Drew Kroft and Jordan Stole. The Devils had their work cut out for them.
Richmond’s starters included Rafael Deane and Ty Harris filling in for Kroft and Stole. That wasn’t even the strangest incident to start this game. Anderson was called for a Technical Foul before the game even tipped. We were never clued into what exactly happened, but Richmond started out with Harris at the free throw line shooting 2. He hit one to start the game. After a few Richmond buckets, Anderson started a fierce attack. The young Indian team, who had a chip on their shoulder wanted to prove to the Red Devils that they had the drive to win. Richmond and Anderson went back and forth throughout the first half, and went into intermission 23-22, with the Devils in a slight advantage.
The 2nd half, fortunes for the Red Devils started to improve, as they started a slow drive pulling away from the Indians on the scoreboard. Richmond’s upperclassmen, proving to the underclassmen on both teams what discipline was. Passing around the arc until shots opened up, OR until the perfect opportunity to drive the lane presented itself. With about a minute left in the game, and Richmond up 66-47, Tyton Newton grabbed a rebound, and took it into the front court. And with the Indians looking dejected, he allowed the clock to expire, giving Richmond it 7th win in a row, and 12th on the season.
This victory was huge for the Red Devils. Not only did it extend their win streak, but it proved that the Red Devils could win even when the chips were stacked against them. They defeated the 4th possible sectional opponent they’ve encountered this season. This team has four more games before the post season starts, and if they continue to trust in Coach Baz, and in each other, they could have a fun month of March.
Saturday Night a Golden Falcons team came to the Tiernan Center, determined to end Richmond’s win streak. A Golden Falcons team, that on January 18th was down 28 points to Blackford starting the 4th quarter, forced overtime and won 98-95. A team, that like Richmond, could come from behind to ensure a victory. This was also a team that brought a legitimate threat to Cleevas Craig. Payton Sparks. This game was also Senior night, so Coach Baz started his Seniors, which were the normal starting five, minus Drew Kroft, replacing him with Senior Rafael Deane.
The tip went the way of Richmond, but Tytan Newton missed the first shot, and Winchester came down and scored first with a 3. Richmond grabbed a bucked and Winchester returned for another 3. Craig was able to knock in a couple more shots before Richmond took the lead midway through the first quarter, and never looked back. The big issue that Richmond had to address were fouls, especially with Deane and Craig.
One of the things Richmond has been guilty of this season is cooling off in the third quarter. The cool off didn’t happen as Richmond kept the intensity throughout the third and fourth quarter. In fact, Winchester tried a full court press to stop Richmond, and Tytan Newton dissected it like a surgeon. All seemed well until the 4th quarter.
Midway through the 4th quarter with the Red Devils up by 15, Drew Kroft attempted a windmill dunk, as he came down, he landed hard. The training staff checked out his knee and were able to help him off the court. Unfortunately, there was still almost 4 minutes of basketball left to play, so Ty Harris was called upon to finish out for Kroft. While he couldn’t go back into the game, Drew did come back out with an iced knee to support the team as the sealed the victory. As of this writing, the extent of the injury is unknown, but our hearts and prayers go out to Drew, and the hopes that it isn’t anything serious.
Richmond knocked of Winchester, bringing the season to 11-7, and a 6-game win streak, the best since the 2014/2015 season.
Friday night the Harrison Raiders invaded the Tiernan Center confident Richmond would be just another speed bump in the road. This was a Harrison team that had already defeated McCutcheon, Arsenal Tech, Kokomo, and Anderson in the conference. In fact, Harrison had only lost 2 games, both to Lafayette Jeff, once in a tournament, the second in North Central Conference play.
The tip went Richmond’s way, and they scored first. Harrison was able to put up a field goal and a three before Richmond started to answer, and then the Red Devils kicked up the gas. They ended the first quarter 17-10, and the half 27-19. There were a few fouls both ways, but overall it was one of the best halves Richmond played all season.
The third quarter would be a different story. The Red Devils only scored 6 points in the 3rd, compared to Harrison’s 13. That would put Harrison within 1 point of the Devils to end the 3rd quarter. The first points of the 3rd were a 3 sunk by Harrison. The Red Devils had been playing so well, they couldn’t allow Harrison to snag the win away. After a timeout, Coach Baz had the team play Richmond basketball. After trading leads a few times, Richmond hopped back into the lead. And with just seconds left on the clock Koream Jett was fouled. He went to the line with Richmond up 47-46 and sank two free throws. The upset had happened! Richmond defeated Harrison and extended their win streak to a season high 5 games. Harrison's 10 game win streak was broken! The well-deserved win couldn’t overshadow a great Winchester team that would be visiting Richmond the very next night…
Wednesday, the Red Devils headed to southern Madison County to face off with the Pendleton Heights Arabians. The Red Devils would have to alter their strategy, because earlier in the day, Jordan Stole left school sick and wouldn’t play. When Richmond arrived to Pendleton, they realized their entire game strategy had to adjust because Arabian center Tristian Ross was ill as well.
Richmond would win the tip, but miss their first shot, resulting in Pendleton Heights putting points on the board first. Richmond would then find their groove and start laying on the scores. At one point the Red Devils were up by 11 before the Arabians started to claw back. There were several fouls, including one technical called on Tytan Newton for clapping, which put the Arabians back in the game. Then it got interesting.
The 4th quarter started out tied at 50-50. Richmond and Pendleton traded shots, before Pendleton grabbed the lead. Richmond scored a bucket and regained the lead, and then Pendleton did the exact same thing. With just seconds left on the clock, and Pendleton Heights up by two, Tytan Newton had the ball for the Red Devils, drove the paint and was fouled. He went to the free throw line and sunk both shots, which forced overtime.
In overtime, the Red Devils overpowered the Arabians, and won 77-71. This victory was huge for the Red Devils. It was the 3rd game in 5 days, just like in sectionals. It was a victory over a potential sectional opponent. The team was without a starter, forcing Ty Harris to step up as a starter, and Dorian Hill to step up to Varsity.
This team, if they continue to play Red Devil basketball, could make some noise come March. But first, they have to endure the 9 day break, and then hosting one of the tougher teams in the conference, Harrison. As both Coach Baz and Coach Bennett say “One Game at a Time”.
Saturday, the only Ohio opponent on the schedule, the Northmont Thunderbolts came to Tiernan to face off with the Red Devils. Last year’s contest, in the Thunderdome, resulted in a Richmond victory in overtime, and Northmont wanted to end Richmond’s 2 game win streak.
That didn’t happen. Richmond won the tip scored first, and put the hammer down. Here are the total points scored in each quarter: 1st 20-7, 2nd 20-13, 3rd 14-10, 4th 25-14. Richmond outscored Northmont every quarter in the game. Scoring, for the most part was even for the Red Devils throughout the game.
With 2 minutes left in the game, Coach Baz subbed in the entire JV squad, and they secured the victory for the Red Devils. This victory was huge. It extended the win streak to 3, which is the longest win streak of the season so far. It also brought the season above .500 in the Wins/Losses column.
Friday the Muncie Central Bearcats came to Tiernan to face off with the Red Devils. This game was big for several reasons. A) It was a North Central Conference matchup. B) It was a potential sectional match up. C) Winning this game would bring the Red Devils back to .500. The Bearcats had won in Muncie last year at Muncie Southside (played there due to the fact that the North Walnut Street Fieldhouse was still undergoing repairs from tornado damage the year before) and the Red Devils knew, to get any traction on the season, they had to win at home this evening.
Muncie Central would strike first with a three ball. What was dangerous, is that Muncie nailed quite a few threes. In fact, Richmond’s zone prevented Muncie from driving the paint, so they relied on the 3 shot, and kept making them. One man who hadn’t averaged more than 4 points a game was Demar Woods-Haskins. He lit up the board Friday.
The trying task for the Red Devils, was that everytime they had a statement for the Bearcats, Muncie Central returned a shot. In fact, the Devils tied up the game 9 separate times, and they didn’t take the lead in the game until very late in the 4th quarter. The Bearcats got close to tying it up, but Tytan Newton hit a layup with just a few seconds left on the clock to seal the victory for the Red Devils
Saturday, the Red Devils would make the first of two-long road-trips to Lafayette this season, to face off with the McCutcheon Mavericks. On paper both teams matched up, but Richmond had an ace up their sleeve: determination. Determination not to lose, to fall further down in the conference standings, and to prove to themselves that they can win close games.
Now, Rafael Deane was still out for this game, it did see the return of Ty Harris, and starter Tytan Newton. Newton, was the spark that the Red Devils needed, and his presence was felt on the court. Richmond struck first with a 3 ball. Then McCutcheon tied with a 3 of their own. The first quarter would be a low scoring affair, ending 7-5 with McCutcheon in the lead.
In fact, the entire game would be low scoring. The drama was in the defense. There would be 2 ties, and 7 lead changes in this game, before Richmond started to pull away midway in the 3rd quarter. No one fouled out, but it wasn’t until the 4th that any teams had any significant time at the charity stripe. The Red Devils would come away with the victory.
Friday night the New Castle Trojans came to Tiernan to face off with the Red Devils. The Trojans had beaten the Red Devils last year at Tiernan, and Richmond was determined not to let that happen again. Unfortunately, history would repeat itself.
One of the main reasons Richmond played “off” was because of the injury and flu bug. Starter Tytan Newton was out due to an illness, and Ty Harris, and Rafael Deane were out due to minor injuries. It was just three guys, but three very important guys. Tytan Newton is a starter, and the spark to the team. Deane and Harris are the “6th man” off the bench. With those three out, Coach Baz had to improvise. The first step was to select a starter, and that man was Messiah Tyler. Tyler held his own on the court, but it had been a while since he had seen Varsity game time. Also Trenton James, Dorian Hill, and Levon Jordan would interchange as subs, those three having played directly before in the JV game.
Richmond would strike first, and would keep the lead until just before the end of the first quarter. New Castle would score to wrap up the first quarter, and would keep the lead for the rest of the game. Richmond would trail New Castle, at one point by 17 points in the 4th quarter, and would end the game with a 14 point loss.
Saturday was the 2nd trip up to Marion and Bill Green Arena for the Red Devils, but this time it was to play in the Marion Classic, a yearly invite for schools to play other teams outside of their normal schedule on a neutral court. A good preparation for the post season. Richmond had participated in the Marion Classic last year, but this year the match up was a bit more…personal, at least for Coach Shabaz Khaliq. The Red Devils would face off with Fort Wayne North, his former team of 8 years.
The Red Devils would attack fast off the tip and they turned on the jets never to look back. At the end of the 1st quarter, Richmond would lead by 19, 29-10. The kept up the heat in the 2nd quarter as well, finishing up the half 52-25. After intermission, The Legends tried everything to trip up the Red Devils, but to no success. In fact, with about a minute left in the game, and Richmond up 85-60, Coach Baz sat all the starters and sent out several JV players to give them some Varsity experience.
This was another game that was a morale and confidence boost. It also proved to the team, they could go into a neutral gym, and take on an opponent, in the afternoon, that they would normally not face in the regular season. Regionals anyone? The victory brought the Red Devils up to a .454 winning percentage on the season so far and gave the team a much-needed reward for all of the close games the team had lost. Richmond is just now hitting the mid-point of the season and now the pieces are starting to fall into the right places.
The Dragons of New Pal invaded the Tiernan Center Friday Night. A game that was rescheduled due to the Dragon Football Team’s State Championship, saw a bit of drama in the 1st half. Richmond scored first off the tip, like thy normally do, but it was New Pal’s Maximus Gizzi who nailed a 3 for New Pal. New Pal would lead into the 2nd quarter, but Richmond nailed a 3 to take the lead, and would never let it go.
The Red Devils at one point in the 4th lead by 13 points, but New Pal was able to claw their way back to make a close game, trailing by just 1 point with less than 2 minutes to go. Richmond changed strategies and would force New Pal to foul, which would send them to the line. The points from the charity strip ensured Richmond’s victory, bringing the Red Devils to 4-6 on the season.
One of the things Coach Baz and I talked about, and we could see on the floor, was Richmond’s focus on closing out games, and working on that in practice. The victory was a huge boost for the team’s morale. They put another W in the column, but also won against a potential Sectional opponent. The win would also boost their confidence for the long trip to Marion on Saturday.
The Weddig Tournament always showcases fantastic teams every holiday season. 2019 was no different. For the Richmond Red Devils, they knew they had a guaranteed three games. Who those opponents may be would be the question, and how to prepare for them? But, as Coach Baz, and I reiterated on air, this would be a perfect training session for the IHSAA tournament come spring.
The first matchup, announced before the season began, was Seton Catholic. Both teams hadn’t played each other in a couple seasons, but with both schools in Richmond, they were very familiar with each other. The familiarity didn’t work out for the Cardinals, as the Red Devils were just too much of a match for them. Coach Baz pulled the starters out in the 4th quarter, with Richmond up 86-40. But that wasn’t enough for the Red Devils. Sophomore Trenton James was hungry to break the century mark and scored Richmond’s 100th point in the game. A feat which hadn’t been done since February 4th, 2005, when the Red Devils defeated Plainfield 103-63 under coach Chad Bolser. The Red Devils would win round one of the Weddig Tournament 103-61
The 2nd game for the Red Devils would see them face one of the best teams in the state in Zionsville at 1:30 in the afternoon. Zionsville had defeated a tough Cathedral team the night before and was ready to knock the Red Devils aside. Richmond struck first after the tip, and lead most of the first quarter, with the Eagles scoring a 3 to end the first quarter 11-10. Richmond scored immediately after the 2nd quarter started, keeping the lead into the half. 25-22. The 3rd quarter would see Zionsville explode scoring 12 points to Richmond’s 1, as both teams used physical defense to prevent fast scoring attacks. The 3rd quarter ended 34-26 Zionsville in a comfortable lead. In the 4th, Richmond fought back tying the game at 38 with 3 seconds left on the clock. The ball would be smacked out of bounds and awarded to Zionsville. The Eagles would inbound it, shoot, miss, and rebound layup with just 3 tenths of a second on the clock. The final score was 40-38. Zionsville would play in the Championship, and Richmond would play for 3rd or 4th place.
The final game for the Red Devils would be played an hour and half after they played Zionsville, at 4:30pm. They matched up against the Greensburg Pirates, who played just before Richmond Saturday at Noon. Both teams would be battling fatigue as they faced off, yet from a spectator’s standpoint, you could not tell. Both teams gave it their absolute all. 9 ties, 13 lead changes, and 3 overtimes. That’s what it took to decide a champion. Richmond lead the 2nd and 3rd quarter, but started to slip during the 4th, which allowed the Pirates to tie up. The 3 overtimes were a hard-fought affair by both teams, but unfortunately one team had to lose, and it was the Red Devils who came up 2 points short 78-76.
Weddig 2019 had all the storylines and saw Bloomington South crowned Champion. The Red Devils are still “gelling” together, and once the team plays a full 32 minutes of Richmond basketball, they could make quite a bit of noise not only in the NCC, but also in the post season. Richmond is a true sleeper team this year, waiting for an unsuspecting coach to rev their engine at a stop light.
Rivalry. Arguably the biggest rivalry game for both schools. The perfect 6-0 Spartans hosted the 2-3 Red Devils at the Spartan bowl, which for all intents and purposes looked to be a low scoring affair, ending in Connersville’s favor. And, it was.
BUT. It didn’t have to end in a Connersville victory. Yes, if we had a time machine, we could change the outcome of many things. But, in this case, if Drew Kroft made his free throws, Richmond forces overtime. If Cleevas Craig makes all his free throws, Richmond wins the game. If Richmond wasn’t shut out the first quarter, it could have been a VERY different game.
Folks, you read that right, Connersville scored 14 unanswered points in the first quarter. 38% of their points they would score all night, came in the first quarter. In fact, they would score 18 until Richmond finally put points on the board, about midway through the 2nd. The first half would end 23-8 in favor of the Spartans.
And the 3rd looked even worse, with Connersville leading 27-10 midway through the 3rd. BUT, Richmond started to come back. The Red Devils reduced that 17-point deficit to just 8 at the end of the 3rd. The 4th quarter was a back and forth. Richmond using a full court press, and pressuring the Spartans into making bad passes, and lousy shots. Could the Red Devils force OT? Could they win on a last second shot? Not tonight, even with the heroics of the starting five, Richmond would come up short.
And yet, there is something prideful to take away from Saturday’s loss. And that is, if the Red Devils play a full 32 minutes like they did in the 2nd half against Connersville, they really could do something special come tournament time. In the 2nd half, they out scored one of the stingiest defenses 24-11.
The Arsenal Tech Titans visited the Tiernan center on Friday for another North Central Conference showdown. Both the Red Devils and Titans were at 2-2 on the season, and this was a game that favored Richmond on paper.
But, there is a difference between paper, and the court.
Richmond started aggressively, scoring 4 unanswered points before Tech was able to get on board. Tech’s first points came from the charity stripe, which would end up being something that would hurt the Red Devils later in the game. Tech trailed until the very end of the 1st quarter, when they would take the lead, 15-14. They would never let it go.
Richmond’s biggest issue was the fact that Tytan Newton, Andrew Kroft, and Jordan Stole all ended up in foul trouble early in the game. In fact, both teams raked up 50 fouls between the two of them. Tytan Newton, and Jordan Stole fouled out during the game, and Drew Kroft ended the game with 4 fouls. Tech also had several players in foul trouble as well, but no one wearing a black jersey fouled out Friday Night.
I can’t finish this blog without giving credit to Koream Jett and Cleevas Craig. Both fought hard against Tech, taking leadership of the team, especially after Newton and Stole fouled out. Jett, you almost expect that he will 110% on the court every night, and he did exactly that. Craig really focused on using his size to overwhelm the Tech chances on the glass. Unfortunately, it was just wasn’t enough. Richmond fell to Arsenal Tech, 62-57.
One final note, Friday night was Silent Night at the Tiernan Center. The entire crowd is expected to stay quiet until one team scores 10 points. Friday was the 3rd year that Richmond had a Silent Night game, and for the 3rd year in a row, Koreem Jett was the man responsible for sending Tiernan into hysterics by scoring that 10th point. Not bad for the 3rd year varsity player.
The East Central Trojans came to town on Saturday night, determined to keep their 3-game win streak against the Red Devils alive. Both teams had similar set ups leading into the game. They were both on the road for the season opener, both losing by 3 points. Richmond to Jay County, East Central to Jennings County. Both teams had commanding victories over their Friday opponents. Richmond, 30 points over Hagerstown, East Central, 21 points over Milan. Both teams were looking to come out victorious.
Richmond struck first with a Cleevas Craig slam dunk. Logan Rohrbacher answered with a 3 for the Trojans. Early in the 1st quarter, Tytan Newton set Drew Kroft up for the alley oop, which his older brother Lucas Kroft had used many times last season. East Central capitalized on a few Red Devil miscues that ended the 1st quarter with the Red Devils up, 11-10. That lead would not last.
The 2nd quarter was not kind to the Red Devils. They scored 5 points in the entire 2nd quarter. East Central on the other hand scored 19 points in the same time span. Most of those points coming off play from their big center, Luke Collinsworth, whose physically style of play would put him in trouble later. It seemed no matter what Richmond did, the rim was just not their friend in the 2nd quarter. Shots that would rattle in normally, bounced out. East Central’s zone coverage prevented Richmond from driving the paint. After Collinsworth scored East Central’s 29th point with 26 seconds left in the 1st half, Richmond drove down to their end of the court to set up play, and with one second left on the clock Levon Jordan launched a 3 that would be the catalyst for arguably one of the best comebacks we’ve seen in the Tiernan Center in a while. The Red Devils trailed at the half by 13, 29-16.
Coach Shabaz Khaliq must have given one of the best motivational speeches in the locker room during halftime, because the Red Devils came out fired up and ready to play. Cleevas Craig started the 3rd quarter comeback with a quick layup to start the period. The Red Devils started to play more aggressively, driving the lane, and stealing the ball, and East Central had trouble adjusting, their lead slowly eroding away. Richmond capitalized on their newfound momentum and ended the quarter tied at 39-39.
The 4th quarter would start with 4 guys in foul trouble; AJ Messmore, John Hotel, and Luke Collinsworth for East Central. Cleevas Craig for Richmond. With 6:08 in the game, Tytan Newton shot a 3 that would put Richmond back in the lead for the rest of the game. East Central would resort to the foul game to attempt to slow Richmond down, but in doing so John Hotel would foul out with 5:00 left in the game. The next causality of the foul game came on Richmond’s side as Cleevas Craig fouled out…but he received a standing ovation from the Richmond student section, and Jordan Stole congratulated him on a game well played. Aj Messmore and Luke Collinsworth both had 4 fouls at this time. The final foul out of the night was East Central’s big Center Luke Collinsworth. His foul-out all but sealed the deal for a Richmond victory. With 6.9 seconds left in the game, East Central would inbound the ball, attempt the 3, it would rattle out into the hands of Tytan Newton, who proceeded directly to the center circle and waited for the buzzer to sound, finalizing their impressive comeback and team effort. Down 13 at the half, they rallied and won by 14.
This had been a matchup that fans hadn’t seen in a decade. The last time Hagerstown played Richmond in basketball was December 19th, 2009, just 13 days shy of being 10 years to the day exactly. The 2A Tigers just weren’t a match for the 4A Red Devils who were out to prove the loss to Jay County a week ago was a fluke.
Drew Kroft started early putting up points for the Red Devils with a 3, 8 seconds into the game. In fact, Drew Kroft scored a 3 off the tip, Tytan Newton stole the ball and picked up a layup, and stole the ball again, passed over to Kroft who nabbed another 3. All within 40 seconds. That set the tempo for the entire night. The closest Hagerstown ever came to leading this game, was at the tip when the score was 0-0.
To Hagerstown’s credit, they did slow down the tempo in the 2nd quarter. Collin Romack, Branton Payne, and Silas Parsons did nab a few buckets here and there, but it was too little to late. Richmond defeated Hagerstown by 30 points and set their sights on East Central, who would be visiting The Tiernan Center the very next night.
That one sentence could describe tonight’s game at Jay County. The Red Devils started their 2019/2020 season on the road against the Patriots. A Patriots team that lost to the Red Devils by 23 points last year at the Tiernan Center. A team, that wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. A team that started 3 seniors and 2 sophomores and rotated in another sophomore and a freshman.
The Patriots staff knew, Richmond was dangerous if allowed to play the game at their speed. Jay County’s strategy? Pass around the arc and wait for Richmond to open a lane defensively that you could take advantage of. Now we don’t keep track of Time of Possession in high school basketball, but it was obvious in the first three quarters that Jay County had the ball on offense much longer than Richmond did. Yet, the score stayed close. In fact, the largest margin was 7 points in the 2nd quarter. Richmond was up 24-17. Jay County shot an (almost) last second 3 to bring the half time score 24-20.
From there, Richmond allowed Jay County to catch up, until late in the 4th quarter when foul trouble caught up with the Red Devils. Yes, practically everyone on the floor in a Red Jersey had several fouls before the night was over. In fact, Richmond had given up 10 team fouls in the 2nd half before the night was over, and when it counted, it sent Jay County to the line for easy free throws which all but sealed the deal for the Patriots.
Jay County avenged last year’s score 47-44.
Richmond’s home opener is this coming Friday, December 6th as they take on the Hagerstown Tigers for the first times since 2009.
Where has the time gone? It's time for High School Basketball here in the state of Indiana. And for this broadcaster, it will start my 2nd season with the Richmond Red Devils.
We wanted to start this blog as a wrap up of every game and a highlight of the team, just incase you were unable to catch the game.
Today's blog is a bit different because I'll lay out the schedule and a small tid-bit about the each game. So, lets get started:
Nov 30 at Jay County
This was the first game for the Red Devils last year, as they beat the Patriots 70-47.
Dec 6 Hagerstown
The Tigers come to town for the home opener. The last time these two teams played was on December 19th, 2009, as Coach Joe Luce willed the Red Devils to a 60-50 victory.
Dec 7 East Central
The East Central Trojans come to Tiernan on Saturday December 7th. Last year they squeaked away with a 57-55 victory over the Red Devils.
Dec 13 at Marion
The first of two trips to Bill Greene Arena this year. Last year Koream Jett shut down Blackmon, as Richmond secured their first big win of the season 76-66
Dec 20 Arsenal Tech
It was a back and forth shoot out last year between the Titans and Red Devils, and the Red Devils were too much for the Titans coming away with a 78-57 victory.
Dec 21 at Connersville
The Red Devils make a trip to the Spartan Bowl this year to take on a patient Connersville team. Richmond will have to be aggressive to avenge last years 42-39 loss.
Dec 27/Dec 28 Bob Wettig Tournament
This years tournament is shaping up to be a great one. Participating schools include: Bloomington South, Cathedral, Greensburg, Indianapolis Wildcats, Irvington Prep, Portage, Seton, Victory College Prep, and Zionsville
Jan 3 New Palestine
This game was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but with the Dragons football team contending for another state title, this game was slotted a tad further down the schedule. Last year the Dragons won 53-48.
Jan 4 Fort Wayne North at the Marion Invite
The 2nd trip for the Red Devils to Marion Indiana, this time to take on Fort Wayne North. The last time the Red Devils played FWN was on February 11th, 2012 as Coach Joe Luce led the Red Devils to a 92-73 victory over the Legends. And guess who was the Fort Wayne coach? Shabaz Khaliq.
Jan 10 New Castle
Former NCC rival New Castle comes to town. The Red Devils not only will want to avenge their own 73-48 loss last year, but also avenge the Trojan victory that ended the Red Devil football season.
Jan 11 at McCutcheon
The Red Devils will be back on the road to take on the Mavericks in Lafayette. The Red Devils hope to repeat last year's 61-57 victory, so the bus ride won't seem as long after the game.
Jan 17 Muncie Central
Last year's road game to Muncie almost looked like a Richmond home game, as the Bearcats were displaced to Muncie Southside Middle school's very red gym, due to damage to the Muncie Fieldhouse. The lack of purple didn't phase the Bearcats as they won 50-40.
Jan 18 Northmont
Last year the Thunderbolts hosted the Red Devils in the Thunderdome, and we saw last year's only overtime game as the Red Devils fought for a 75-73 OT victory.
Jan 25 at Pendleton Heights
The Red Devils head to Madison County to take on the Arabians. Last year the teams met in the first round of sectionals. Pendleton Heights will be out to avenge their first round 48-45 exit from last year.
Jan 31 Harrison
The Harrison Raiders come to Tiernan to try for a repeat smackdown. Richmond lost last year 64-35.
Feb 1 Winchester
Last year, just like this year, Winchester had the misfortune of playing the Red Devils the night after the Harrison Raiders sucker punched Richmond. Richmond was out to prove they wouldn't lose back to back games, and came away with the victory 64-51.
Feb 6 at Anderson
Back last decade, heading to Anderson meant taking on the Indians in the Wigwam. These days, the Indians play in a much smaller venue, but no less intimidating. The Indians will be out to avenge their 19 point loss from the year before. 81-62
Feb 14 Kokomo
The last time the Red Devils will play in Tiernan this season as the Wildkats come to town, looking to keep Richmond off balance, just like last year. Kokomo won 41-36
Feb 15 at Logansport
The Red Devils season wraps on the road, first to the home of Felix the Cat: The Berry Bowl. Richmond commanded the 1st half, but the Berries were able to come back and win 77-71.
Feb 21 at Lafayette Jeff
Richmond heads back to Lafayette to take on the Bronchos. Last year the Bronchos were too much for the Red Devils, as they commanded a 71-56 victory.
Feb 27 at Franklin County
The Wildcats will wrap up the regular season, just like last year. Although they hope for a different outcome as the Red Devils came away with a 19 point victory 66-47.
March 3 Sectionals
Sectionals start on March 3rd as the Red Devils head to the Muncie Fieldhouse to play in IHSAA 4A Sectional number 9. Other teams include the namesake Muncie Central, Anderson, Greenfield Central, Mount Vernon, New Palestine, and Pendleton Heights. Sectional #9 will be a NCC/HHC showdown.
And there you have it. The entire schedule, and a "preview" of each game. I hope you're as excited as I am for Richmond Basketball to start. Dustin Hobson and I will bring you the action starting Saturday at Jay county, on Richmond's Classic Hits. 101.7 The Point.