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February 25, 2013
Richmond High School



The Boys Sectional Tournament will begin Tuesday night in Indiana.   After a regular season of winning, losing or playing .500 basketball, every team has a chance to win a state championship.    The favorites are obvious but nothing is guaranteed.   Tuesday night usually goes the way we expect.  Friday night is always a night of upsets.    The idea is, get a sectional championship and then anything can happen in the Regional.   Richmond hasn’t won a sectional since the IHSAA went to the multi-class system 17 seasons ago.  It has been a long dry spell for the Red Devils and their fans.  Will this finally be the year?  Many of us thought last year might be our time but Pendleton Heights beat Richmond in the sectional title game for the second consecutive season.    Do you remember the last time Richmond won the sectional and who they beat?   It was the 1995-96 season when the Red Devils beat Winchester 58-48.  The next season RHS lost to Winchester in the opening round of the sectional 49-42.  One other tidbit from our sectional tournament time in the multi-class system….Richmond is a sub .500 team, 13 wins, 15 losses.

So will Richmond finally win this season?    As Joe Luce told me many times this season…”We could win the whole thing or we could lose in the first round”.   He is right!   Though I think this team is good enough to win the championship, they could lose Friday night against either Connersville or Pendleton Heights.   It won’t be because of their defense, it will be because of their offense.   All season this offense has sputtered.   From 95 against Northeastern, to 37 against Jay County.  Coach Luce admitted “the defense will show up.  It’s the offense that is a concern”.    He should be concerned!    It’s a hard group to figure out on offense.   They may score 17, 18 or 19 points in one quarter then score only 5 or 6 the next quarter. That trend has happened in just about every game this season.  And Richmond as been held to less than 50 points eight times this year.    

Is there an easy answer to the lack of scoring?  The only one I can find is “they are inconsistent”.   Other than Charles Hampton, no one else can be counted on to get you double digits game in and game out.  Yes, you will see signs in Joel Okafor or Davious Webster coming around, but it appears double figures from them can’t be counted on.  There is no doubt they can shoot the ball well, but do they get enough shots?  The next concern for Webster will be his endurance and strength after getting the flu.  Webster missed an entire week and that won’t be easy for him to rebound from.  The one benefit for Webster is the bye.  If Richmond were to play Tuesday night, I am not sure how much of an impact Davious would have made.    I believe Richmond will also have to get more points in the paint just in case the outside shooting were to go cold.  Now that means either taking the ball to the rim more or having Jai Wright and Abdul Shabazz get more involved in the offense.

I haven’t seen Pendleton play this season.  Obviously their record isn’t as good as last season but they beat North Central, a team that whipped Richmond in the second game of the season.  If Connersville gets by Pendleton, then that will match Richmond against the Spartans, a team Richmond beat by only 1 at the Tiernan Center earlier this season.   Connersville’s biggest problem is their backcourt.  They turn the ball over too much and that will be a huge advantage for the Red Devils.   If the Red Devils get to the championship game, they will face either Anderson or New Castle (sorry Greenfield, you have no chance of beating either of these teams).    Richmond beat both this season, New Castle at home and Anderson on the road.   Richmond played extremely well at Anderson beating the Indians 70-58 in a game not as close as the score may indicate.  They would need that same kind of performance if they play again.  They are very talented, with quickness to match Richmond.  New Castle on the other hand would be playing on their home floor which is always dangerous.  Cory Ryan and Steven Bennett can shoot the ball as well as anyone in the NCC and Kyle Goolsby is a big body inside.   I am sure they would love to send Coach Bennett off with a sectional championship.

Whatever the outcome, Richmond fans are getting a little impatient about the lack of a sectional title.   The field is wide open.  Five of the six teams have a legitimate shot at winning the championship.  It will be fun to watch!!!

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