By Maurice Patton
EAGLEVILLE – Pleased? Perhaps. Satisfied? Hardly.
As Richland opened the boys basketball season with a 66-34 win Thursday at Eagleville, veteran Raiders coach Jason Loveless saw plenty of room for improvement.
“There were a lot of mistakes we made. And I don’t think we shot it that well,” Loveless said after the Raiders ran out to an early 9-2 lead and were up by 10 as early as the 4:06 mark of the second period. “I liked our energy. I thought we shared the ball well.
“It’s a good first step.”
Logan Helton finished with 21 points, leading all scorers, as part of a balanced Richland attack. Daniel Nicholson added 17 points and Trey Luna 15 as the visitors were effective in transition – either getting the ball off the glass or off turnovers and converting often at the rim.
“I thought we hit some spots in transition, caught them on their heels a little,” Loveless said. “We only had eight in practice last week (because of pandemic limitations). We worked on ‘5-on-0’ offense a lot, pushing the ball. I thought it paid off.”
Eagleville, which defeated Summertown 51-48 Tuesday, was led offensively by Damian Stingley and Rhett Deaton with nine points apiece.
Shorthanded Lady Raiders fall late: With 60 percent of his projected starting lineup left in Lynnville, Richland coach Chad Hall wasn’t terribly disappointed following his team’s 43-36 loss to Eagleville.
“I’m just glad we got to play,” Hall said. “It wasn’t a thing of beauty. We can only get better out of it.”
Behind the interior tandem of Cadence Chapman and Anna Grace Clement, Eagleville controlled the contest’s early stages. However, Richland senior Jesse Jennings scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the opening half and the visitors led 29-22 at intermission.
“The first half went better than I expected,” said Hall, who was without the Garner sisters – senior Allie, a four-year starter, and Kate and Kristen – who are expected to be unavailable until the second week of December.
“Jesse found a way to score there for a while. I don’t know that they made any changes. We were just out there with young kids. We knew (Chapman) would be a tough handle, and (Clement) is a really good player.”
The Lady Raiders managed just seven second-half points, going six-plus minutes in the final period without scoring as Eagleville extended a 36-34 lead behind Clement, who finished with 12 points before fouling out.
Chapman led the hosts with 14 points.
Richland boys 66, Eagleville 34
R 15 17 20 14 – 66
E 12 6 8 8 – 34
Richland (66) – Tyrell Randolph 5, Logan Helton 21, Daniel Nicholson 17, Trey Luna 15, Stevie Ballinger 2, Bryce Anderson 3, Jace Derryberry 1, Gage Kirk 2
Eagleville (34) – Isaac Gazaway 4, Jensen Linton 8, Rhett Deaton 9, C.J. Goers 4, Damian Stingley 9
3-pointers – Richland 7 (Helton, Nicholson 2, Luna 3, Anderson), Eagleville 3 (Linton, Deaton 2)
Eagleville girls 43, Richland 36
R 10 19 5 2 – 36
E 13 9 14 7 – 43
Richland (36) – Gracie Braden 7, Jesse Jennings 20, Gracie Adams 3, Halle Braden 2, Ava Shrader 4
Eagleville (43) – Haylee Ferguson 10, Isabella Sawyeer 3, Eliza McClaran 4, Anna Grace Clement 12, Cadence Chapman 14
3-pointers – Richland 2 (Jennings, Adams), Eagleville 3 (Ferguson 2, Sawyer)