Chris Hamblett of North Yarmouth Academy goes around Richmond defender Andrew Vachon during a game Wednesday in Richmond. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

RICHMOND — It had been over a year since the Richmond boys basketball team played a game against an opposing school on their floor.

No matter what the outcome may be, there’s just something special about playing on your home floor, especially for Richmond’s Calob Densmore, who is in his senior season for the Bobcats. 

“When we go away and we play in an environment that we’ve never really played in, it’s no doubt a different feeling than playing here at home” said the Bobcats forward, as Richmond fell 54-32 to North Yarmouth Academy on Wednesday night.  “We play here every single day, we get to shoot on these rims and get used to the bounces, even getting used to the lighting, it may sound silly but it’s truly a factor.”

It was a day that Densmore at one point thought may never come.

“It’s been a long offseason and there was a time where I didn’t even know if we’d have this opportunity,” said Densmore. “It’s awesome to play here every time we have a home game, but there was some meaning behind this one.”

It was also the home debut for head coach Jason Cassidy, who is in his first year leading the program after 11 years at neighboring Gardiner.

“You can’t get the full atmosphere of what this school and community are all about without the fans,” said Cassidy. 

Cassidy made sure to take it all in before the game, but locked into coaching soon after and didn’t even think about it after the game.

“I’m just focused on getting these guys ready for the next game, we have a quick turnaround tomorrow so this one should be easy to forget about,” he added.

Joaquim Bila of North Yarmouth Academy drives on Richmond defender Calob Densmore during a game Wednesday night in Richmond. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

It’s certainly one the Bobcats will hope to quickly forget.

The Bobcats did what they could do to hang around as long as they could staying with six points at the break, but the Panthers took control for good in the third quarter, outscoring the Bobcats 15-4 in the frame to hold a 17-point lead going in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice. 

It was the Panthers play on the defensive side of the ball that helped the Panthers take control of the game, something NYA head coach Jason Knight definitely likes to see.

“Well we hang our hat on defense and always try to bring that extra level of energy and intensity,” Knight said. “If we play with the level of energy that we played with tonight, good things tend to happen for us like they did tonight.”

For a program as small as Richmond, with just 14 boys players in total on both the junior varsity and varsity team, it can be a challenge for Cassidy and the players.

“It’s tough when we have so few players to go between two full games of basketball, we have a lot of tired guys by the time the second half rolls around,” added Cassidy.

The Bobcats have underclassmen players who play both on JV and varsity, and have just five juniors and seniors in the program combined. 

This can be a challenge for the players too, as Densmore eluded too after the game.

“The biggest change for me personally is having to play a lot smaller and have a slower pace on offense,” Densmore said. “There are a lot of players on the team this year that I hadn’t played with before this season.

NYA was paced by senior guard Chris Hamblett, who scored 16 points and controlled the Panthers offense throughout the entirety of the game. Elliot Oney added 14 and Bryce Poulin had eight.

Densmore led the Bobcats with 17 points and had six blocks, with four coming in the third quarter alone. Andrew Vachon had five points, and Will Miller added four. 

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