By Russ Green-Sports Editor
The Richmond Spartans shot 53 percent from the field Saturday afternoon, which was enough to hold off a tough Tiger squad on its home court in the finals of the Wellington-Napoleon Invitational. The Spartans hit 60 percent inside the 3-point arc, and knocked down 8 of 19 outside to help them to a 79-72 win and their first tournament title since the 2012 Hamilton Invitational.
“Any championship is a good championship,” Richmond coach Duane Bastob said. “We played well offensively and Wellington was a scrappy team that fought hard.”
The Spartans, now 11-5 for the year, got plenty of production from their two all-tournament players – Reid Summers and Quinton Maxwell. Summers continued his hot tournament shooting by scoring a game-high 38 points that followed his 27-point night in Thursday’s 54-45 semifinal win over Lexington. Maxwell scored a career-high 20 points in Saturday’s championship tilt, in addition to crashing the boards to grab 13 of Richmond’s 31 rebounds.
Levi Banner led Wellington-Napoleon (9-6) with 24 points – 11 of those coming in the fourth quarter as the Tigers kept chipping away at Richmond’s lead. Alex Rodenberg hit for 13 points with 7 of those in the final 8 minutes.
The Spartans bolted to a 16-10 lead in the first period, but the Tigers battled back to cut the Richmond advantage to 16-13 entering the second quarter. The Spartans’ lead reached 9 points late in the quarter and Richmond took a 34-25 advantage into the break on Summers’ trey at the buzzer.
The Tigers’ full-court pressure began to create some problems for Richmond in the second half. Richmond had 17 turnovers in the game, with most of those created by the scrambling effort of the Tigers.
“We have to work on our press breaks if we want to make a mark with this team,” Bastob said.