RICHMOND’S ZACH SMALL (34) looks to the hoop, with Buckfield’s Jared Eastman looking to make a block during Wednesday night’s preliminary playoff game against Buckfield. The Bobcats advanced to the Western D quarterfinals with the 51-40 victory.

RICHMOND’S ZACH SMALL (34) looks to the hoop, with Buckfield’s Jared Eastman looking to make a block during Wednesday night’s preliminary playoff game against Buckfield. The Bobcats advanced to the Western D quarterfinals with the 51-40 victory.

RICHMOND

Typically when your team is up 21-0 after the first quarter of a basketball game, you begin to write your opponent off.

RICHMOND BOBCAT Cody Tribbet (right) goes up for a lay-up, while Buckfield’s Tyler Vallee pursues. The Bobcats won Wednesday’s preliminary game against the Bucks, 51-40 to advance to the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday for a Western D quarterfinal at 11:30 a.m.

RICHMOND BOBCAT Cody Tribbet (right) goes up for a lay-up, while Buckfield’s Tyler Vallee pursues. The Bobcats won Wednesday’s preliminary game against the Bucks, 51-40 to advance to the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday for a Western D quarterfinal at 11:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, the Western Class D fifth-seeded Richmond High School boys basketball team hosted No. 12 Buckfield in a preliminary playoff game in Richmond. With the Bobcats taking a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the Bucks were able to battle back, but fell short as Richmond captured the victory, 51-40 and moves on to play No. 4 Seacoast Christian School at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

The Bobcats were 8-for-11 from the field to start, while being a force on defense, not allowing one basket in seven attempts for the Bucks. Cody Tribbet dumped in four 3- pointers to lead his team to the commanding 21-point lead, but the momentum of the game swung at the start of the second quarter despite the Bobcats dishing up another basket to make it 23-0.

“When you jump out to a lead like that it’s easy for a team to get a little bit complacent and back off a little bit,” Richmond head coach Jon Spear said. “As much as I’m hoping they’re not going to, we had a little bit of a lag there and I was more upset with my defense because they weren’t stopping them the same way they were in the first quarter.

“Offensively we were turning the ball over and they (Buckfield) went into a 1-3-1, credit to them, Buckfield came out in that 1-3-1 and that slowed us down a little bit and they stayed in that. It was trying to figure out that 1-3-1 and how to attack it, but in the second half we kind of woke up a little bit.”

At the end of the game, an easy question that might have been lingering in the heads of those in attendance, was that of the outcome of the game if the Bobcats didn’t go on the 21-0 tear in the first quarter. For Bucks coach Mark Thurlow, the 1-3-1 play was the answer.

“We worked on that 1-3-1 for two days,” he said. “I should have started with that. That game would have never been 23-0 because it proved out. My kids played hard today. I’ve done this for 18 years, 16 at Telstar and one year at the jayvee level. I have never been prouder of a basketball team, I’m dead serious. When you’re down 23-0 and come back like that, it’s amazing to me, it really is. We put ourselves in a position to win that basketball game.”

The change in the play on the court did prove to make a difference for the Bucks, going on a 9-0 run in the second quarter, eventually shutting down the Richmond offense and limiting it to just 2-for-9 from the field and taking a 12-5 quarter advantage to reduce the deficit at halftime from what was 23 to 14.

“We just lost our defense a little bit, lost track of what we were doing,” Bobcats Bailey Johansen said in regard to the Bucks turnaround offense. “We came back and kind of figured it out, but at the same time we didn’t. It was just tough, we were up by so much and I think people laid back a little bit and then we just remembered at halftime that we couldn’t let up at all and we had to keep pushing.”

The Bucks continued to pound the floor, scraping another four points off the deficit by the sound of the buzzer at the end of the third frame, making the Bobcats need to buckle down an even bigger priority.

“Just playing that 1-3-1 and just knowing where 14 (Tribbet) was all the time,” Thurlow said about keeping the game close after acknowledging that the Bobcats guard had four 3-pointers in the first quarter.

After Buckfield’s Jared Eastman sunk a bonus shot after being fouled, the Bucks reduced the Bobcats deficit to just seven points. However, the fourth quarter proved to be the difference maker, as the Bucks were forced to foul, sending Richmond to the line 10 times, with 8-of-10 dropping in successfully to help sustain the advantage and eventually the win.

“To see those kids battle back, I think everyone got their monies worth,” Thurlow said. “I’m really proud of these kids. W hen you’re team is down 23-0, you expect them to fold. T hese kids didn’t fold, they really didn’t.”

With the victory, the Bobcats will travel to the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday to take on Seacoast Christian, and Spear said his team’s focus needs to be 100 percent until the final buzzer.

“You have to stay pretty even-keeled through the whole thing,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you get up by a little bit, doesn’t matter if you’re behind by a little bit, you have to keep your cool and make sure that you’re going and playing as hard as you can, and if you can execute good things will happen.”

“You just have to keep pushing,” Johansen said. “Don’t let up, no brakes, just all the way on the gas, that’s all there is to it.”

No. 5 Richmond 51, No. 12 Buckfield 40

Western D prelim At Richmond High School

Buckfield 0 12 15 13 40
Richmond 21 5 11 14 51

Buckfield — Jake Karaske 8-1-18, Jonathan Randolph 2-0-4, Hunter Wiley 0-0-0, Jared Eastman 5-3-13, Tyler Vallee 1-0-3, Aaron Rowe 0-0-0, Sidney Jackson 0-0-0, Alec Brough 1-0-2, Zach Grover 0-0-0, Totals — 17-4-40. Richmond — Zach Small 5-1-12, Cody Tribbet 8-0-22, Tyler Soucy 0-4-4, Bailey Johansen 2-0-4, Cameron Emmons 1- 3-6, Zach Marseglia 1-0-2, Brendan Emmons 0-1-1 Matt Rines 0-0-0, Nate Vintinner 0-0-0, Nick Anan 0-0-0, Nate Kendrick 0-0-0, Totals — 17-9-51. 3-point field goals — (B) Karaske, Vallee; (R) Tribbet 6, C. Emmons, Small. Records — Richmond 12-7; Buckfield 5-14. Up next for the Bobcats — Saturday against Seacoast Christian in a Western D quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center, 11:30 a.m.


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