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It has been at least 10 years since the Richmond Spartans defeated Higginsville on its home court, so you wouldn’t expect ending the streak would come easy. The Spartans advanced to the title game of the Husker Classic by knocking off the Huskers 46-42 Wednesday night and will play for the championship Saturday at 8 p.m.
Richmond nursed a 4-point lead with less than 3 minutes remaining, only to watch Higginsville chip that lead down to a single point with 1:38 left.
Richmond’s Robert Brewer pulled down a key rebound off a missed field goal attempt by Higginsville and was fouled with 22.1 seconds left. The Spartan sophomore walked to the line and sank both ends of a one-and-one situation to open up a bit of breathing room.
A desperation 3 by the Huskers’ Lance Kays was missed and Blaine Broderick grabbed the rebound for Richmond and put the game away with 8.2 seconds remaining by hitting one of his 2 attempts from the stripe.
“Kyle Ash shut down the Husker inside game in the fourth quarter,” Spartan Coach Duane Bastob said. “Jon Vance stepped up for us offensively.”
Jon Vance scored a game-high 16 points for the 3-1 Spartans to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Brady Tieman and DeShawn Thirkield led the 2-2 Huskers with 13 points apiece.
Each team opened the game with a dozen points in the opening period, but the Huskers managed to hold a slim lead throughout the frame until the Spartans battled back to take a 22-19 lead at the break. Both teams traded 1-point leads in the third quarter until a late 9-0 Husker run gave the home team a 5-point lead with 7:43 left in the game.
Richmond took the lead to stay when the Spartans answered with a 12-1 run as Jacob Swope knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to key the surge.
Swope ended the night with 4 buckets from outside the arc as he posted a 12-point effort. Broderick added a pair of 3-pointers as he scored 9 points. Brewer had 9 points with a team-high 5 rebounds. James Vance added 2 points and Ash added a free throw with a pair of rebounds and a pair of steals.
Richmond makes its third consecutive appearance in the Husker Classic championship game on Saturday. The Spartans won the first Husker Classic and advanced to the title game last year, but due to weather problems the championship game could not be rescheduled.