NORTH ANSON — The long travels that come with playing in the East/West Conference can make wins hard to come by.

Perhaps that makes what the Richmond boys and girls basketball teams did Friday in a brand-new environment for both of them even more impressive.

Richmond grinded out a pair of hard-fought victories in a girls-boys doubleheader at Carrabec High School. The Bobcats won a tight girls game 44-43 before prevailing 52-42 in a boys game that saw them withstand a strong defensive effort from the Cobras.

“I’ve coached here a couple times before, but my team, they’ve never played in this gym before,” said Richmond girls head coach Mike Ladner. “I told them, ‘Look, this is a tough environment, and it’s funky in here with the acoustics.’ We powered through, and I’m very proud of them for that effort.”

Ladner’s Richmond girls took the first game behind the dominant Izzy Stewart, who had a team-high 21 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. The Bobcats struggled defensively to start the game but turned things around in the second-half before surviving a last-minute charge by Carrabec for the one-point win.

Richmond (2-1) got off to a strong start, getting baskets from Stewart, Darby Flanagan and Payton Cray to go in front 6-0. Yet with the Bobcats leading 9-3, Carrabec pulled ahead as Molly Hay, Summer Lindblom and Karen Baker each scored multiple baskets to put the Cobras up 16-13 through one.


Carrabec (2-1) continued its run into the second quarter as a six-point spurt from Hay stretched the Cobras’ lead to 24-17. Richmond, though, trailed just 29-26 at the half and took a 35-33 lead into the fourth quarter after a low-scoring third in which the Bobcats limited the home team to a single basket.

“In the first half, we tried pressing them a lot, but they did a really good job and were able to have some success against our press,” Ladner said. “In the second, we just switched to basic man-to-man with some great help-side, and that made a big difference.”

Five early points from Cray in the fourth quarter saw Richmond match its biggest lead of the game at 42-36. Although Carrabec fought back to cut the deficit to 44-43 in the final minute powered by eight points from Hay, the Bobcats got a key stop on the final possession to secure a vital victory.

Cray added 11 points and five rebounds for Richmond, which beat Carrabec 33-23 on the boards in the win. Hay had a game-high 26 points for the Cobras as the Bobcats focused more on limiting the Cobras’ supporting cast rather than trying to limit the home team’s standout senior.

Later in the evening, the Richmond boys would continue their hot start to the season with the 10-point win. The victory avenged the Bobcats’ season-ending loss to the Cobras in last year’s Class C South quarterfinals, something that was on the mind of every Richmond player.

“That playoff loss left a bad taste in our guys’ mouths, so they were ready to go,” said Richmond boys head coach Nathan Schultz. “I think they showed that right away by showing intensity right from the tip. It came and went throughout the game, but we were able to pick it up there at the end.”


Richmond got off to a hot start as nine points from Wyatt Cassidy powered the Bobcats to a 17-9 advantage through one quarter of play. Carrabec (2-1), though, picked itself up in the second quarter to trail just 26-23 at the break and then took a 29-28 lead early in the second half.

Trailing 34-31, Richmond (3-0) finally got the burst it needed courtesy of Hunter Mason. The senior’s first points of the game came on a 3-pointer that tied it at 34, and he then followed with eight more points (including two more 3-pointers) to end the third quarter on an 11-0 run and put the Bobcats up 42-34.

“That was huge, and that’s just what Hunter does; he’s that sparkplug,” Schultz said. “I feel like every time he has the ball in his hands, he can make big things happen and take the ball to the hoop. There’s been times when we’ve really needed that, and he’s stepped up and gave it to us.”

Cassidy had a team-high 16 points and a game-high seven rebounds for Richmond, and Koleman Kroesser, who had two big layups in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice, had 12 points and six rebounds. Carrabec got 16 points and five rebounds from Cooper Dellarma and nine points and six boards from Desmond Robinson.

Erik Carey’s Cobras are still a work in progress after graduating the bulk of last year’s roster, including Luke Carey, who scored 33 points in that quarterfinal triumph over Richmond. Carrabec’s head coach, though, likes what he’s seen on the defensive end in his team’s first season of East/West play.

“When you lose that much firepower offensively, it’s tough, but we are where we want to be defensively,” Carey said. “What we’re seeing is the product of this group having to guard guys like Luke and Joel (Gehrke). We can’t put the ball on the hoop yet, but I’ll ride and die with these guys with how they defend.”

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