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When you have waited 18 years for a conference basketball championship – what's another overtime or two? The Richmond Spartans staked a claim on part of the MRVC
East title Thursday night with a 63-59 double overtime win over Knob Noster in a packed
and loud RHS gym for their first league championship since 1991. That was the year Richmond and Boonville finished 6-1 each.
During senior night, it was senior D' Andre Williams coming up big in the clutch late in
the second overtime. Williams, who had just 2 rebounds, got perhaps his biggest when he
tipped in his own miss with 33 seconds left to give Richmond
a 61-59 lead. Jacob Swope clinched the championship that
Richmond will share with Higginsville and Knob Noster with a pair of free throws with 9
seconds remaining. All three schools end the season with 8-2 conference records.
"What an awesome feeling," Richmond Coach Duane Bastob said. "I'm really glad these
kids got to taste it because they have worked so hard. It's been a long time coming. I'm sure they're not satisfied with just this and they are looking ahead to doing some good things next week."
The Spartans will be hosting the District 15 Tournament with Higginsville as the top seed, and Knob Noster as the No. 3 seed. Richmond is seeded fourth.
Unlike the last meeting when Richmond saw a 16-point lead get away in a Knob Noster
home victory, the Spartans were able to overcome a late Panther lead Thursday. It was the second time in the last three games that Richmond erased a late
deficit to win in overtime.
"Our goal since then was to make sure we finish," Bastob said. "We felt like we gave away a great opportunity down there and we didn't want that to happen again, so we made an
effort to make sure we finish games and we have done that the last two weeks."
Panther senior Cullen Rosine, who carried the load for the Panthers in the first meeting
with 31 points, was held to just one field goal Thursday.
However, Brian Hughes, who sparked the comeback effort in the Panther win, scored a game-high 28 points, followed by Justin Connors with 19.
The Spartans got more balanced scoring with 13 points from Williams, while Jon
Vance, Robert Brewer, and Blaine Broderick all added 10 each, with Swope scoring 9.
The Panthers did not get their first lead in the game until Hughes got open inside for a
35-33 advantage with 2:23 left in the third period. Knob Noster
then went on to hold its biggest lead of 5 points at the end of the quarter, 41-36. Richmond fought back to tie the game twice before the end of regulation. Broderick's layup with 1:31 remaining in regulation tied the contest at 52-all.
Swope's 3-pointer was the only Richmond scoring in the first overtime, but then the Spartan bench depth showed in the second overtime. Williams ended up with two buckets in the second session. His first tied the game 57-57, and his biggest came a little over 2 minutes later.
Brewer led the Spartans on the boards with 7 rebounds, while James Vance grabbed 6
to go along with his 6 points. Jon Vance also had a half dozen rebounds. Kyle Carroll hit a
3-point bucket and Kyle Ash added a field goal to wrap up the Richmond scoring.
Richmond will take a 19- 6 record into districts, while Knob Noster is 19-5.
PHOTO:Spartan D' Andre Williams (1) hit two crucial baskets in the second overtime in Richmond’s victory over Knob Noster. The win gives the Spartans a part of the conference title. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News.)