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Digging your way out of a 19-point deficit isn’t easy. The Richmond Spartans found that out Friday night in front of a big Mat/Court-warming crowd at the RHS gym as they hosted Higginsville in a battle for the top of the MRVC East standings.
After getting shut out in the first period on the way to trailing 19-0, the Spartans chipped and clawed their way back into the game before finally falling 51-41. The Huskers, led by Evan Hoeppner’s 17 points and DeShawn Thirkield’s 13, improved to 11-1 overall and 2-0 in the league, while the Spartans fell to 8-6 and 1-1.
Turnovers, missed shots and struggles getting the ball inside plagued the Spartans in the opening stages. Richmond had a couple of open shots early but could not get them to fall. The Spartans also committed five turnovers in the first period. Meanwhile, Higginsville was getting inside and converting turnovers into easy baskets as the Huskers raced to a 13-0 lead at the end of the opening period. Richmond’s struggles continued into the early part of the second quarter and Robert Brewer finally got the Spartans on the board when he hit a pair of free throws with 6:06 left in the half. Richmond’s first field goal did not come until Ty Tweedie hit one outside the 3-point arc with 4:06 remaining.
By that time, the visitors had built a 23-9 cushion on the way to a 30-12 halftime lead.
A more confident looking Spartan team came out in the second half and reeled off the first 10 points. The Huskers ended the 10-0 run with a bucket off a rebound, but Richmond answered with 3-pointers from Kyle Carroll and Blaine Broderick to help cut the Higginsville lead to 3 points with 1:07 to play in the third quarter. An old-fashioned 3-point play by the Huskers late in the period pushed their lead back to 6.
The Spartans would get no closer than 5 points in the final quarter.
Carroll and Broderick ended the night with three 3-point buckets each. Carroll had 12 points, while Broderick scored 11, to go along with 5 rebounds and a pair of steals. Brewer had 7 points, while pulling down 10 rebounds. Also for Richmond, Lucas Hook had 4 points, with Da’Ron Jenkins and Caleb Benhardt chipping in 2 apiece. Hook, Jenkins and Benhardt also had 3 rebounds each, with Jenkins dishing out a team-high 7 assists.
PHOTO:Da’Ron Jenkins looks to drive the lane against the Higginsville defense in Richmond’s home loss to Higginsville. The Spartans will play this week at the Hamilton Tournament. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News)