Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Richmond Tops Westminster 56-50 in the AugBball Game of the Night

Moses Williams led Richmond with 15 points in Tuesday's AugBball Game of the Night.

In a long overdue matchup between state championship contenders from the GHSA and the GISA, the league for many of the private schools, Richmond overcame a fourth quarter deficit to beat Westminster 56-50 at home, establishing a 5-0 record and gaining momentum before another difficult test Friday. Richmond's "three Musketeers" led the way again as Moses Williams scored 15 points and DT Stephens and Jason Weaver added 12 and 10, respectively.

Michael Dukes led all scorers with 23 points and Jelani Watson-Gayle chipped in 17 as the pair scored 40 of the Wildcats' 50 points. Watson-Gayle's three early in the fourth quarter gave Westminster a 46-45 lead, and after Dukes tipped in a Larkin Ison miss with 4:40 remaining, Westminster held its biggest lead of the night at 48-45.

Richmond's experience and composure was crucial in the Musketeers' game closing 11-2 run. The senior leaders, Williams and Weaver, whose leadership coach Steve Nobles talked about in our post game interview in the video above, sank 5 of 6 free throw attempts down the stretch. The Musketeers only scored one field goal, that by 6'5" sophomore Vontrez Roberts, during the fourth quarter. But Roberts also made a pair of free throws in the final period, and Stephens made three.

Michael Dukes led all scorers Tuesday with 23 points.

That Richmond was able to slow down Lakeside, which averaged 73 points per outing leading into Saturday's showdown with the Musketeers at Paine, and turn around three days later to win against an equally talented but much more methodical Westminster by getting defensive stops and sinking clutch free throws, is a good predictor that coach Nobles' team will be ready for the tests ahead during region and post season play. The Musketeers host Glenn Hills Friday and visit Westside Saturday in a pair of non region matchups that will pose different challenges to this impressive group.

Westminster plays Briarwood Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the Garden City Classic at Augusta Prep. During the three rounds of play, the Wildcats will possibly face some of the area's best players, like Augusta Christian's Nate Dunlop and Augusta Prep's Ryan Jolly, in an event that has become must see basketball for area hoops fans.

Coach Steve Nobles (left) and Mark Tebbs (right) shake hands post game.

There was a time, for example 25 years ago when I played at Westminster under coach Mark Tebbs, then in his first season coaching the Wildcats, where it would have sounded absurd that my alma mater would visit Richmond Academy and come a couple possessions away from winning. Times have changed. Coach Nobles said it perfectly in our interview: "They're good. Westminster's good."

I agree. And I'll add that Richmond is very good.

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