Richards Raiders boys basketball coach Barry Turnbow was hoping his team didn’t have to defend its Elementary Basketball League Tournament title against Schmitt by hitting key free throws.
“We shot about 30 percent all year,” Turnbow said.
But there at Columbus East High School on Saturday, with the EBL championship on the line, the Raiders had to get it done at the line.
First it was Adam Chapman who knocked down a pair of free throws. Then Reese Harmon hit both of his. Chapman followed with another pair and Kyler McIntosh swished both his shots.
The Raiders’ 39-31 victory against the Rockets was accomplished with an eight for eight performance at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, along with three key baskets by Lance Greiwe.
“Hitting the free throws was a big turning point for us,” Turnbow said.
Schmitt had threatened to take control a couple of times during the game. The Rockets opened a 10-2 lead early and built a 26-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Both times, Richards answered back.
“These kids kept playing,” Turnbow said. “The sixth graders on this team have lost only two games the last two years. This is a good bunch of kids.”
One of those losses came against Schmitt in the Holiday Tournament.
Schmitt head coach Scott Wilson felt like his team let one slip from its grasp.
“We missed 13 free throws in the game,” Wilson said. “They missed two.”
Actually, it was worse. Richards was 11 of 12 from the line while Schmitt was five of 20.
The final score didn’t do justice to what a hard-fought, exciting contest it was. Fans from both schools packed the seats and rattled the gym with enthusiasm.
Chapman led Richards with 11 points while Greiwe and Harmon both had
Schmitt was led by Max Wilson, who scored 12 points, and Alan Flores-Salgado, who had 10 points.
“I thought we played how we planned,” Wilson said. “We had the lead with three minutes left.
“But that’s a great team (Richards). I think we’ve improved a lot.”