RICHMOND — It was a tale of two halves. In the end, the Richmond boys basketball team lives to play another day.

The Bobcats, who enjoyed a strong first half of play, held off a second half surge by the Buckfield to post a 62-57 win on Tuesday night in a Western Class D preliminary game.

“That’s the most heart I’ve seen my team play with,” Richmond head coach Jonathan Spear said.

Richmond forward Randy Moody, who scored a game-high 19 points, added the Bobcats needed a win in the face of adversity.

“That’s what we’ve been struggling the most with, when someone gives us a punch, we don’t hit back,” Moody said. “Tonight we hit them back.”

Richmond (8-11), the No. 8 seed, will meet No. 1 seed Forest Hills on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center. The two teams met back on Jan. 4 in Jackman, where the Tigers defeated the Bobcats 71-40.

Richmond got the edge in the first quarter, outrebounding the Bucks (9-10), thanks to forwards Moody and Eddie Stewart. Working around Buckfield’s zone defense, the Bobcats went on a 12-0 run between the first and second quarters. Moody and Stewart accounted for most of Richmond’s offense, scoring 19 of the team’s 26 points in the half.

The Bucks found some life before halftime, and were able to cut Richmond’s lead to 26-19. Buckfield coach Chris Reed said the Bucks’ play late in the first half kept the team alive.

“It was crucial,” Reed said. “Going into the second half 14 (points) and going down (seven points) are two totally different animals. We felt a lot better about our chances. Plus, just the flow of the game changes when we get the ball down low.”

In the second half, Buckfield came out shooting.

Forward Micah Madore led an offensive onslaught, knocking down four 3-pointers and scoring 15 of his 16 points in the half. The Bucks also had a low-post option in forward Keenan Stockdale, who scored a team-high 17 points.

The Bucks turned the tables on the boards as well, outrebounding the Bobcats. With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Buckfield cut down Richmond’s lead to 37-34. Spear said the Bobcats were forced to constantly make adjustments due to the play of Madore and Stockdale.

“They had (Stockdale) who stepped up, got a whole bunch (of points) underneath. We kind of had to adjust our game plan. We adjusted that, and then they had (Madore) who was making the 3’s on the outside. But I give my kids credit, when I threw any adjustment at them, they did great.”

Richmond held to its lead, thanks in most part to the play of Moody, who made his presence known underneath the boards and from outside the arc, knocking down two 3-pointers.

Still, Buckfield continued to push, and with four minutes remaining in the contest, trailed Richmond 48-46.

The Bobcats found some luck in the form of foul trouble for Buckfield, as Stockdale fouled out with three minutes remaining in the game. Buckfield had an opportunity to tie the game with 18 seconds remaining, but guard Tyler Goyette was called for a travel on a pivot move toward the basket on a layup, giving Richmond the ball and sealing the game for the Bobcats.

It was the third time this season the two teams had met. The Bucks won the first contest 53-46 on Dec. 14 and the Bobcats picked up a 45-39 win over Buckfield on Jan. 8.

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

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