NCHSAA SEC Members
Undefeated No More
January 7, 2012Hoke County High School
RAEFORD — Hoke County’s Tarique Thompson fired a 3-point effort from the left baseline and watched as it spun around the rim, then shot straight up in the air before falling through the net.
Thompson cracked a smile running back down the court as everyone in McDonald Gymnasium realized it was going to be one of the those nights for the Bucks.
Thompson ended up scoring a game-high 18 points to lead Hoke County to a 54-50 victory over Richmond County Friday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both schools. The loss was the first on the season for the Raiders.
In a tightly-contested game, the Bucks (10-1, 1-0) used two scoring spurts to keep the Raiders on their heels. Hoke County went on a 14-5 run in the middle of the second quarter to build a 28-18 lead as Thompson’s 3-pointer capped the spurt. Richmond battled back to cut it to four at the halftime break.
In the second half, Hoke County built its advantage back up to 10 on two occasions, the last came at 3:46 mark of the fourth quarter when Thompson powered through the Richmond defense for his final basket of the contest. Darius Book’s layup started the final big run for Hoke County.
“I thought the key was when we had three shots on our end and they ended up getting a layup at the end,” Richmond coach David Laton said. “I thought if we could hold a team to 50 or 60 points we would win more times than not. Offensively, we only had two guys in double figures. Normally we have more than that.”
Jordan Richardson, one of the key offensive players for Richmond, was saddled with foul trouble in the opening moments. Richardson was whistled for two offensive fouls in the first two minutes and was forced to the bench. Laton reinserted Richardson later in the first half and was called for his third infraction moments later.
“That really hurt us, I’m not making excuses, but we went from an eight-man rotation down to seven,” Laton said. “After he picked that third foul up, he wasn’t going to play until the second half.”
Richardson didn’t start the third quarter, but was quickly substituted into the game in the first minute. He was whistled for an offensive foul 20 seconds later. Laton elected to keep Richardson on the court and the junior finished the game without picking up his fifth foul.
Richardson finished the game with six points. He wasn’t the only Raider struggling to find his offense against the Bucks, leading scorer Shydamion Ellerbe also scored six.
“There was a lot of contact that wasn’t called,” Laton said. “The referees just weren’t calling many fouls and I don’t know why. We shot 14 free throws and they shot nine. We expect more from Jordan and Shydamion was held in check too.”
Despite his team taking its first loss of the year, Laton thinks the defeat will be good in the long run to bring the group back to earth.
“I really thought we needed to have a little less talk and more walk,” Laton said. “We have nine more conference games and there are a lot of good teams in the conference.”