Competition often brings out the best in people. The area's most anticipated game of the young high school season brought out the best in the Laney and Richmond players as the Musketeers played three quarters of lights out basketball before succumbing to a relentless comeback led by Laney's Christian Keeling, who scored 32 points in the Wildcats' 75-72 overtime road win.
|Keeling and Jasper once again lit up the scoreboard,|
ringing up a combined 54 points in Tuesday's win.
Richmond sprinted out to a 23-7 first quarter lead and held two more leads of sixteen, at 40-24 in the second quarter, and 47-31 in the third. Rashad Calloway, DT Stephens, and Nick Roberts did much of the first half damage. Jason Weaver and Chris Jones made timely third quarter shots to keep the Wildcats at bay. But a 5 point fourth quarter was not enough to protect the Musketeer lead.
Henley scored 9 points on 3 three pointers to add to Keeling and Jasper's 54 combined points. Calloway scored 16, Weaver 12, and Roberts 10 for the Musketeers.
The support both teams got from the capacity crowd was amazing. The players impressed us all in so many ways. Richmond proved they are a complete team that will win big games. Stephens proved to me he is an impact player the likes of which most teams don't have.
The Musketeers also proved to have players with strong character. Like Calloway, who after barreling over Henley and being called for a charge with the game tied and less than a minute remaining in regulation, stopped to help Henley off the ground.
And Keeling literally played himself into such a state that he needed special attention after the game. (Don't worry, Christian is fine.) I've seen he and Jasper play and score in these first four games unlike anything I've ever seen from them. But the way they did so Tuesday under extreme adversity left me speechless.
Friday Laney (4-0) hosts Morgan County, the last team to beat the Wildcats. The boys game features two of last season's top three class 3A teams in the state. The girls game features the defending state champ and currently #1 ranked Lady Wildcats* versus the team currently ranked #7.
Butler (4-0) visits Richmond (3-2) Friday in a rematch of last Friday's game at Paine College.
*Be on the lookout for my game report from the Lady Wildcats' game versus Richmond Tuesday. It will be released tonight!