WALES — It was cold at Oak Hill High School on Thursday, and not just outside the building.

Both the Raiders and visiting Richmond struggled to make shots in a Mountain Valley Conference girls basketball tussle, which Oak Hill won 31-28.

“I think both teams played reasonably good defense,” Oak Hill coach Mike Labonte said. “I can’t attest to what Richmond is going through, but we’re shooting at a hoop with a cover on it right now.”

The Raiders (3-0) jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two Abby Nadeau free throws and an Audrey Dillman bucket, but then went cold while the Bobcats (0-3) went on a 10-0 run. It took Anna Beach coming off the bench and completing a three-point play with 16 seconds left in the first quarter to stop the drought for Oak Hill.

Richmond went running again to lead 15-8 after Bryanne Lancaster’s 3-pointer two minutes into the second, but the Raiders rallied with the next nine points. Desiree Dumais drained a three while Labonte yelled “Go in! Go in!” to tie the game at 15-15, then hit a pair of free throws to give Oak Hill the lead. Caitlin Kendrick answered with a jumper to send the game to halftime tied 17-17.

“This game we didn’t shoot the ball that well. We’re a young team, we’re still trying to find our identity offensively. So we’re still trying to figure out who the scorers are, who the leaders are,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said. “Defensively I thought we played great. Like I told the girls, ‘As long as our defense is on, we’re going to be in all the games.’ We’ve been in every game we’ve played so far this year, we’re just, we’re struggling a little bit offensively, trying to figure out who does what.”

The Raiders found an offensive rhythm to start the third quarter, scoring points on their first four possessions (Dumais layup, Nadeau long two, Dillman baseline jumper, Dumais free throw) to jump out to a 24-19 lead.

“It is rewarding for them to see that,” Labonte said. “It helps pick up their spirits, and it makes it a little easier.”

Kendrick made a jumper for Richmond during Oak Hill’s spurt.

Then the Raiders went cold again, without a point the rest of the period, but they held the Bobcats to just a Shea free throw for a 24-20 lead entering the fourth.

The way both teams were shooting, the game was far from decided with eight minutes to play, and Richmond rallied back. Kendrick hit a three — her second of the quarter — to give the Bobcats a 28-27 lead with 1:13 to play.

“This is new for Cait, being a leader, so I think she’s doing a really good job,” Ladner said.

Dillman answered with a bank shot to re-take the lead for the Raiders, then stole the ball and went the other way for a layup to stretch the lead for the final margin.

“Dilly hit a big shot, coming down the stretch there. That was pretty big with the steal and the shot,” Labonte said.

Dillman led the Raiders with nine points, while Dumais poured in eight. Kendrick paced all scorers with 10, and Shea scored eight off the bench.

“That’s been her best game so far this season,” Ladner said.

The Bobcats find themselves 0-3 to start the season, but Ladner said he told his team they can’t be disappointed with that because they’ve been competitive in each game. But making the tournament — which is the team’s goal — is “going to be a process.”

Labonte is just looking for his team to make shots.

“They’re a a good bunch of kids, and they’ll battle, and they’ll support each other. But just like I said, just hope the cover comes off here soon,” Labonte said.


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