RICHMOND — Richmond used a box-and-one defense in hopes of neutralizing Alex Goodman, Pine Tree Academy’s dynamic 5-foot-9 point guard, in Wednesday’s East-West battle.

The strategy helped put the Bobcats in a position to win going into the fourth quarter, but it couldn’t help them on the offensive end in the final eight minutes. Thus, Pine Tree held Richmond to five points in the fourth quarter to emerge with a 35-32 win.

Goodman led all scorers with 17 points to go with nine rebounds and six assists. Kim Emerson, the Breakers’ 6-foot-2 center, finished with six points, 11 rebounds, five steals and nine blocked shots.

Sydney Tilton, Richmond’s outstanding freshman, led the Bobcats with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Kelsea Anair added nine points.

Richmond led 27-26 heading into the fourth quarter, which is when Goodman took over. She had a hand in eight of the Breakers’ nine points in the quarter. The Bobcats, meanwhile, shot 2-for-9 from the field and went without a point for the first five minutes of the quarter.

“We’re a team that, if we get down, we’re not good enough offensively so we can put 10 or 12 points up like that and get back in a game,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said. “It’s our defense that gets us where we’re at, defense and transition baskets. If we’re struggling with that, then we’re in trouble.”

Goodman helped make things tougher at the defensive end in the fourth quarter. She made two of two from the free throw line early in the period to put the Breakers in front, then converted a layup off her own steal to make it 30-27.

With three minutes left, Tilton pulled the Bobcats back within one with a putback of her own miss. Goodman penetrated to the hoop and dished to Angel Hood, who made it a three-point game again with 1:40 to go.

Emerson’s presence underneath altered Richmond’s bid to make it a one-possession game, then she hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to 35-30 with 22 seconds left.

Richmond’s Meranda Martin banked a jumper from the left elbow with 9.4 seconds remaining to make it a one-possession game again. Emerson missed a free throw to give the Bobcats a chance to tie it, but Anair’s shot with three seconds left, which appeared to be from just inside the 3-point arc, was short and the Breakers held on.

The Bobcats (5-4) struggled to adjust to Pine Tree’s size early, as Emerson blocked six shots in the first half and got the Breakers going the other way.

“She’s probably one of the most improved on our team,” Pine Tree coach Josh Dayen said of Emerson. “She doesn’t like contact, but she’s to the point where she’s OK with it and she’ll play with it. She’s learned how to go straight up and not try to send it into the bleachers every time.”

“It seemed like they got some transition baskets on us early. Other than that, I think we played okay,” said Ladner, whose team was down four players due to illness or injury.

Richmond had Martin and Camryn Hurley split the task of guarding Goodman, with Martin handling the bulk of the work in the first half and Hurley doing most of it in the second half. The defenders stayed with her everywhere she went on the offensive end and denied her the ball.

That was more difficult to do in transition, such as when she started the fast break after Emerson’s sixth block and threaded the needle to Hood for a basket that gave the Breakers (10-1) a 19-17 lead at halftime.

“It’s hard for any team to make a decision on how to best guard her because she has every weapon that there is,” Dayen said. “She can shoot from the outside and she can take it in. Our team environment is such that there’s nobody that doesn’t have permission to shoot their shot, so she looks for everybody else.”

Richmond missed its first five shots of the second half, allowing Pine Tree to maintain a slim lead. Tilton put the Bobcats in front with a pair of free throws and a putback of her own miss before Goodman set up Emerson for a hoop that made it a one-point game heading into the fourth.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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