AUGUSTA — Te’Andre King got what he wanted when he went to the basket. He plucked rebound after rebound out of the air. And when he stepped back for a shot, that usually went in, too.

The Richmond boys basketball team had no answers for the senior forward. And as a result, the North Yarmouth Academy Panthers are moving on.

King scored 34 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a dominant showing, and No. 4 NYA beat No. 5 Richmond 54-37 in the quarterfinals of the Class C South tournament at the Augusta Civic Center Monday night.

“I had no idea. I don’t really keep track of points when I’m playing,” King said. “I was just (thinking) ‘Every shot counts, every possession counts.’ I just happened to be hot today.”

For the Panthers (15-4), it was a moment they had been waiting for. Richmond (12-8) beat NYA 58-49 on Jan. 22, erasing a 14-point deficit in the process, and coach Jason Knight didn’t deny the motivation that provided his group.

“To be honest, it poked the bear for us,” said Knight, who also got 14 points from Chris Hamblett. “We haven’t lost since, and they’ve been pretty fired up this week, in a good, quiet, ‘just get to work’ kind of way. And clearly, (King’s) effort tonight, he was ready to play.”

Like his coach, King knew the significance of the opponent.

“We needed a spark, because Richmond came out and they beat us the first time,” King said. “They were really our turning point, where we said we could play better, we can do better.”

King started fast, racking up eight points in the first quarter as the teams ended the period tied at 10. He added six more in the second — including two on a highlight-reel breakaway dunk — to help NYA to a 23-18 lead, and then 10 straight of his team’s points in the third as the Panthers turned a 25-18 lead into a daunting 35-23 advantage.

He took over down low, but also stepped back and showed an impressive mid-range jumper. During his third-quarter run, left alone on the perimeter, he hit a 3-pointer.

 

At that point, Richmond coach Phil Houdlette knew his team was in trouble.

“He banked that one, and I knew right there we were in trouble when he banked it,” he said. “He’s really not known for his shooting, and I thought he shot the ball exceptionally well tonight.”

All along, King maintained a calm, almost stoic expression. Even after hitting jumpers and picking up and-1 calls, King remained even-keeled as he returned to the defensive side of the court.

“I always try my best just to stay mellow and calm,” King said. “A lot of people make fun of me, but I have a tradition where I listen to R&B before the game and keep that energy mellow. I never want to get too super excited, I never want to get too super down.”

NYA expanded its lead in the third and early fourth, and while Richmond stormed back in the first matchup by winning the battle in the paint, the Panthers didn’t let the Bobcats find their rhythm inside this time.

“They did the right things defensively as well. They just packed the paint and played three straight across,” Houdlette said. “They didn’t allow us any diagonal cuts. Until we could prove we could make two or three (shots) in a row, they were just going to stay there. They also got the lead early, so why would they come out of that? I wouldn’t either.”

NYA’s defensive approach was reflected on the Richmond stat sheet. Dakotah Gilpatric led Richmond with 12 points, but Calob Densmore scored 10 after he had 19 in the first game, and Kenny Bing (12 rebounds) had eight after scoring 23 in January.

“We didn’t make any shots. But that’s not our game,” Houdlette said. “We needed to get some transition baskets, we didn’t get any transition baskets to speak of. We had a hard time penetrating with their length and size. So that’s really the whole ballgame, to be honest with you.”

Houdlette paused for a second.

“And the King kid,” he said.

Even with the loss, Houdlette credited his team for shaking off a lackluster start to reach the Civic Center. Entering Monday, Richmond had won nine of its last 11 games.

“I think they bought in and they started playing defense, and a little team chemistry,” said Houdlette. “They’ve come a long way. That’s a credit to them and their hard work.”

Comments are not available on this story.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.