Although his Lady Spartan basketball team came out on the short end of their season opener Monday night at home with the visiting Excelsior Springs Lady Tigers, coach David Littrell was not entirely disappointed.
The Richmond girls had troubles getting the offense going after the break when Excelsior Springs erupted for a 15-3 scoring surge in a 39-32 victory.
“For the first game, I thought we played OK,” Littrell said. “I told the girls they gave a great effort and they played hard. We did have a little trouble with our offense at times, especially in the third quarter when we got out of our offense and forced things.”
Whitney Martens led the Richmond scoring with 12 points, with the help of a pair of buckets beyond the 3-point arc. It was the senior’s trey that accounted for the only scoring for Richmond in the third period.
The Lady Spartans held an 8-7 edge after the opening quarter, and with 3:31 remaining in the half, maintained a 14-11 lead before the Lady Tigers closed out the half with a 6-2 run and a 17-16 lead at the break. Excelsior Springs opened the third period with 5 unanswered points before Martens hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to end the Richmond scoring drought.
However, the visitors scored the final 10 points of the quarter including a 3-pointer from Madison Haugland to give them a 32-19 cushion heading into the final frame. Once again, Martens hit a 3-pointer 9 seconds into the fourth quarter for Richmond’s first basket since her previous trey with 4:24 left in the third period. The Lady Spartans cut the deficit to single digits on a pair of free throws by Stephanie Williams, but could pull no closer.
Williams ended the night with 8 points, and Baylyn Jennings hit for 4 points. Kayla Hewitt and Hannah Alpers each scored 3 points, with Chelsea Hook adding 2. Lexa Palomarez led Excelsior Springs with a game-high 13 points, with 9 of those coming in the second half. Tatum Hannah and Haugland chipped in 7 points apiece.
Richmond hit 10 of its 15 free throws, while the Lady Tigers struggled from the stripe by converting just 4 of 15.
The Lady Spartans will be back on the court Monday night in Higginsville at the Husker Classic.
PHOTO: Richmond’s Chelsea Hook looks for an open teammate while being guarded by Lexa Palomarez of Excelsior Springs in Monday night’s basketball season opener at the RHS gym. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News.)