AUGUSTA — On a night when 1,000-point scorer Zach Small was held to just two field goals, the Richmond boys basketball team found a way. Trailing No. 4 Dirigo by nine points at the half, the No. 5 Bobcats exploded for 49 second-half points, earning a 64-51 win in the Class C South quarterfinals at the Augusta Civic Center.

Richmond, now 14-5, will face No. 1 Hall-Dale in the semifinals. Dirigo ends the season at 12-7.

“That’s probably our best team win we’ve had all season,” Small said. The senior finished with 15 points, 11 coming at the line. Caleb Densmore led Richmond with 18 points, 15 in the pivotal second half. Daniel Stewart added 13 points, all in the second half. Matt Rines chipped in eight points before fouling out with five minutes to play.

Cooper Chiasson had 11 points and 11 boards for Dirigo.

STEPPING UP: With Dirigo’s defense focused on containing Small, and to a lesser extent Rines, other Bobcats needed to make shots. Richmond coach Phil Houdlette stressed that at the half.

“The biggest thing up here, to me, is composure. All year long, I don’t think we’ve gone to the line like we should, but part of that’s our doing,” Houdlette said. ” We stand around and watch Zach and Matt, we’re not going to go anywhere. We talked about other people stepping up. It’s going to take more than two guys at this level to get it done.”

Dirigo’s triangle and two defense bottled up the Bobcats throughout the first half. Not only was Small not getting any good looks, but the entire Richmond team went cold, making just 1 of 17 tries in the second quarter, as the Cougars led 24-15 at the break.

The solution, Houdlette said, was better screens to open more shooters.

“So we started to screen the top guy and one of our bigs was coming up and screening the next guy, so you get around the corner,” Houdlette said. “That’s when the weak side forward really became open. Now it’s can you make a shot or two?”

The Bobcats opened the third quarter with a 21-3 run to take a 36-27 lead. Richmond took the lead for good when Rines scored on a layup off his own steal.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Densmore’s 18 points were important, and he also added nine rebounds. Densmore scored seven points in the third quarter, helping Richmond take the lead.

“They were just falling. There’s no secret behind it,” Densmore said.

When Dirigo cut Richmond’s lead to three points, 46-43 midway through the fourth quarter, Densmore went 3 for 3 at the line to help the Bobcats regain control of the game.

UNSELFISH BASKETBALL: An key to Richmond’s offensive eruption in the second half was passing. The Bobcats consistently found the open man, and were aggressive in attacking the basket rather than settling for a quick jumper.

“(Houdlette) told us we needed to work better as a team. He told us move the ball to get better shots,” Densmore said.

Added Houdlette: They shared the basketball, and I think we need to share the basketball in these bigger games. When (Small and Rines) are shut down, we’re capable of scoring, and now it’s just making them believe it.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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