KELSEA ANAIR of Richmond (10) goes in for lay-up against the defense of Vinalhaven’s Gilley- Anne Oakes during Saturday’s East-West Conference game. The Bobcats took the contest, 41- 27 to sweep the weekend series with the Vikings.

KELSEA ANAIR of Richmond (10) goes in for lay-up against the defense of Vinalhaven’s Gilley- Anne Oakes during Saturday’s East-West Conference game. The Bobcats took the contest, 41- 27 to sweep the weekend series with the Vikings.

RICHMOND

Losing three straight games was more than enough for the Richmond High Schools girls basketball team. A win was in order and the Bobcats needed to figure out a way to turn the ship around and sail it in the right direction.

RICHMOND HIGH SCHOOL’S Autumn Acord (20) looks for an open teammate against Vinalhaven’s Deja Doughty. Richmond swept the weekend series 32-28 and 41-27 to improve to 7-4 on the season.

RICHMOND HIGH SCHOOL’S Autumn Acord (20) looks for an open teammate against Vinalhaven’s Deja Doughty. Richmond swept the weekend series 32-28 and 41-27 to improve to 7-4 on the season.

Friday and Saturday featured an East-West Conference doubleheader matchup against the Vinalhaven Vikings, and on Saturday the Bobcats sealed the sweep with a 41-27 victory after winning 32-28 the night before.

“At halftime what we talked about was that last night we played a great first half, but struggled in the second half,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said after Saturday’s contest. “We talked about maintaining that intensity and mental toughness all the way through the game, through four quarters. I think that’s what we did today. I thought the girls played a really good, overall game.”

“It was fun,” freshman forward Sydney Tilton, who had 19 total points, said about being able to win two straight. “We’re all working together. Last night’s score, compared to this one, probably should have been more what we had yesterday.”

Richmond came out of the gate firing, taking an opening quarter lead of 16-7. Tilton led the way for the Bobcats with six points with Kelsea Anair sinking a pair of field goals and draining two foul shots in as many attempts.

The Vikings chipped away, bringing the game twopoints closer at halftime, thanks to a strong 3-pointer by Bailey Wadleigh and a 6-0 run, as well as forcing eight second-quarter Bobcat turnovers.

“Last night we played much better,” Vikings head coach Sandy Nelson said. “Our intensity was a lot higher than today. I just think that Richmond was a very good team and we didn’t come with that same intensity this morning. These guys work hard, they stepped it up a little bit on defense, but we got beat bad on the boards in the first half, we had a lot of missed lay-ups, a few turnovers and that changes the complexion of the game.

The Bobcats mimicked their performance in the first half at the start of the second, going on a 10-2 run to start with Tilton once again at the head of the pack with six points, two of which came from the charity stripe.

That momentum carried the rest of the way as the Richmond defense held the Vikings to just three field goals in the entire half, forcing a 3-for-14 performance from the floor with an additional five points coming from the line.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Bobcats ended the morning perfect at the free-throw line, sinking all seven shots, a first for the team all season.

“Foul shots win and lose a game,” Tilton said. “You start off missing a foul shot and then it all comes to that one foul shot you missed that could have won the game. Emphasizing foul shots are what it will come down to when it comes to winning and losing.”

“It makes me feel really good because we’ve been averaging about 50 percent for the season,” Ladner stated of his team’s performance at the line. “But over the last week we lost to Pine Tree (Academy) by three and Forest Hills by three, so I’ve really been putting an emphasis on foul shots in practice over the last week and it’s good to see those results.”

Wadleigh and Gilley-Anne Oakes split 22 points down the middle as part of Vinahaven’s offensive efforts, while the Vikings and Bobcats came in even from the floor, shooting at a 37-percent clip.

In Friday’s game, Anair led the way in the 32-28 win with 14 points, while Meranda Martin added seven points. Oakes paced Vinalhaven with 13 points.

Postgame relationships

Due to Vinalhaven being located off an island off the MidCoast of Maine, the Vikings schedule consists of primarily doubleheaders against their opponents. During this time the Vikings stay overnight in between games.

Oftentimes the team has been set-up to sleep in the gymnasiums of its respective opponents, but other team’s such as Richmond host players in its own homes, a tradition that has stemmed for many years.

The Maine Principals Association is in the process of creating a possible Class E for smaller schools, a class that Vinalhaven will most likely move to if it is made effective, causing a halt in the off-the-court tradition that has created many friendships between Vinalhaven and many of its teams.

“That would be really sad,” Ashley Oakes said. “I mean we wouldn’t get to play with these team’s that we’ve kind of grown up with. I’ve played since my freshman year and I know most of these girls have too, just being able to see each other and being able to build a friendship along the way and building off of each other too.”

“It shows that they’re a bunch of good kids,” Ladner said about his feelings toward the tradition. “They’re able to separate the game from just being kids and having fun. Last night after the game we had a pizza party and then they went over to the girls and boys houses and played video games and watched movies. It’s bonding and it’s good. I think they’re going to miss that, because next year if they reclassify we probably won’t be playing them anymore.”

For Tilton, though only a freshmen, has found Vinalhaven doubleheaders gratifying, but she said that the possibility of the Vikings moving classes is disappointing.

“I’m kind of disappointed, I don’t really know what’s going to happen next year,” she said. “I don’t really want it to change. I look forward to our Vinalhaven games, going out there, them coming here, it’s always been fun, the fans have been fun, the girls are awesome. I wish we could keep doing it. I hope we do or at least stay in touch.”

“We haven’t run into anyone we haven’t liked yet,” Nelson said about her team’s experience with staying with its opponents. “We get along with everyone, that’s kind of Vinalhaven’s nature anyway. This is what I like about sports, the camaraderie that develops and there wasn’t anyone arguing out there. These kids see each other during the fall in soccer, they see them then too. They all get along.”

“They do what they have to do,” Vikings co-captain Andrea Shane said about the MPA’s decisions. “But it’ll be sad to see.”

Richmond 41,
Vinalhaven 27

Saturday at Richmond High School
Vinalhaven— 79 56—27
Richmond — 16 7 12 6 — 41
Vinalhaven — Skyler Sanborn 0-0-0, Bailey
Wadleigh 4-1-11, Gilley-Anne Oakes 5-1-11, Paige
Demison 1-2-4, Taylor Littlefield 0-0-0, Deja Doughty
0-0-0, Hannah Noyes 0-0-0, Ashley Oakes 0-1-1,
Ashlyn Littlefield 0-0-0, Totals — 10-5-27.
Richmond — Sidney Tilton 8-3-19, Camryn Hurley 0-
0-0, Meranda Martin 3-0-6, Autumn Acord 2-0-4,
Kelsea Anair 2-4-8, Cassidy Harriman 2-0-4, Julie
Plummer 0-0-0, Tala Abu Hayannah 0-0-0, Totals —
17-7-47.
3-point field goals — (V) Wadleigh 2
Records — Richmond 7-4; Vinalhaven 3-7.
Up next for the Bobcats — Tuesday at home against
Buckfield, 5:30 p.m.


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