Raiders Capture Crown; Pats Place Fourth at Tourney in the Pines
Richmond Senior High School rode the inside muscle of Shydamian Ellerbe and Jordan Richardson to a 52-46 victory over Durham Hillside in Thursday evening’s title game of the Holiday in the Pines boys’ basketball tournament.
Ellerbe scored 19 points, while tournament MVP Richardson added 11 as the undefeated Raiders (9-0) won the event hosted by Pinecrest for the first time in seven tries. Their best previous finish was third place in 2008.
Defending champion Pinecrest fell 50-39 to Southern Lee in the third-place contest. Adam Cummings of the Patriots was an all-tournament selection along with Ellerbe, Ace Chalmers of the Cavaliers, Tyquan Reid of Hillside, and D.J. Mason of West Bladen.
The surprisingly nimble 6-foot-4, 246-pound Richardson scored 19 points in the Raider wins over West Bladen and Southern Lee. He and football teammate Ellerbe are good complements to the quick and aggressive Raider guards.
“We just came out here, we played hard, and we won it all,” Richardson said after the award presentations. “The toughest team we played was Southern Lee, and we didn’t know that these guys (Hillside) were going to give us a challenge, but they came out and played hard. We just came out on top.”
Behind the hot hand of Reid, who finished with 17 points, Hillside jumped out to a 15-10 advantage. The Raiders rallied to take a 29-22 halftime lead as the 6-foot-2 Ellerbe and Richardson powered their way to all but two of the team’s 14 second quarter points.
The Hornets (6-5) fell behind by as many as 11 points in the third period, but a pair of free throws at the start of the fourth quarter by Reid, who finished with 17 points, cut the margin to 37-35.
The difference was just four with less than two minutes remaining, but Hornet turnovers and the conversion of five of six free throws sewed it up for the Raiders.
“We plowed some new ground tonight,” coach David Laton said after being informed the Raiders won the event for the first time. “We went into our delay offense and made some layups and some free throws down the stretch. And I thought our defense was good at the end.”
Pinecrest (4-9) played like it was feeling some aftereffects from its Wednesday overtime loss to Hillside, which denied it a shot at a third tournament championship in the last five years. After Cummings fed Greg Barnes and Justin Ray for baskets and a 4-0 lead against Southern Lee (8-2), the Patriots suddenly got sloppy and went on to trail 14-4 at the end of the period.
Two three-point buckets by Cummings and a pair of inside baskets by Chyshad McGriff helped Pinecrest hold its own in the second period. Trailing 29-20 going in to the second half, the Pats were beaten badly on the defensive board by 6-foot-4 Josh Mellette and others. They never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Mellette, who averaged more than 20 points per game in the Cavs’ three wins over the Patriots this season, finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Chalmers chipped in with 12 points.
A bright spot for the Pats was McGriff, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, who led his team with 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Patriots return to action on Tuesday with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at Red Springs. Their Southeastern Conference opener is at Lumberton on Friday.
Fairmont defeated Overhills 80-45 in the fifth-place consolation game. West Bladen beat Fuquay-Varina 58-43 for seventh place behind a 26-point performance by Mason.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at email@example.com.
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