ALL SPORTS CHAMPS
NCC ATHLETE OF
Richmond stays in NCC race
February 4, 2012North Central Conference
It was going to be one of those halves.
Anderson's Chris Lemon fired up an alley-oop pass to start the third quarter that missed its intended target -- but somehow found its way into the net instead.
That cut Richmond's 13-point lead down to 10, and the Indians just got closer from there -- but that didn't stop the Red Devils from closing out a milestone victory for head coach Joe Luce.
Quinten Hunter scored 11 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, Kristian Rodriquez and Joel Okafor each netted 15 and the Red Devils moved to 3-1 in the North Central Conference with Friday's 69-62 win at Tiernan Center.
They also earned Luce his 200th career win. Forty-seven of those victories have come in his three seasons at Richmond.
"I loved being a part of it," Hunter said. "Me and coach Luce are very good friends on and off the court. I know if I need anything I can go to him and it's just nice to be a part of it."
Anderson didn't make it easy.
The Indians trailed 34-21 at halftime, but Lemon's accidental 3-pointer triggered a 14-6 Anderson run.
Hunter said he thought the ball was headed to him on that play.
"I was confused because I saw it coming into my hands. It just went in the hoop," he said. "We just took the ball out and kept playing.
"We just had to come out and play our game, come together as a family and keep our composure. Shots will fall after that."
They did for both teams, as a double-digit Richmond lead gave way to a back-and-forth second half.
The Indians went into the fourth quarter down 47-44, and they pulled even with RHS after an Armon Daniels' basket with 4:54 remaining.
That was it, though, as Hunter quickly connected on a three-point play and the Red Devils reclaimed the lead on the way to a fifth straight victory.
"We're shooting for No. 1 in the NCC right now," said Rodriquez, who added four rebounds. "That's what we're going for.
"We cannot slow down right now. We have to keep trucking on and keep winning."
Hunter hit a trey at 4:09 and Richmond's lead never dipped below four after that.
The Red Devils also went 8-of-11 from the free-throw line in that final quarter, with Hunter, Rodriquez, Nathan Jones and Okafor all contributing.
"We're going to get everybody's best game," Luce said. "When the half starts with an alley-oop that goes in ... you know it's going to be a dogfight. I'm just proud of our guys."
Bola Olaniyan finished with six points and a team-high seven rebounds, but the 6-foot-8 senior was whistled for his fifth foul in the third quarter.
Okafor grabbed six more rebounds for the Red Devils, while Tanner Todd had seven points.
"We have established that Bola is going to be successful, Tanner is going to be successful," Luce said. "When guys like Kristian step up, it's just nice to know that we've got one more guy that we can have that's ready at all times. Just a key part of our win tonight."
Trey Boyd paced Anderson with a game-high 22 points with Lemon adding 20.
The Indians dropped their seventh straight and are now 6-10 overall, 1-3 in the NCC.
Richmond improved to 14-3 overall. The Red Devils and Kokomo each have one conference loss, with Muncie Central leading the pack at 5-0 after Friday's victory over Logansport. RHS returns to action Thursday at New Castle.
Luce is now 200-96 overall in his career, and 47-17 at Richmond.
"It just brings to light the great people and players I've been associated with and I'm just very fortunate to have a great career so far," Luce said.