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.
Connersville holds on for the victory. 36-32