Richardson twins help Vols win

Staff Writer

A win at Canton Academy two weeks ago wouldn’t have been possible without Raegan Richardson and his free throws down the stretch that won a tough District 2-AAA road game.

On Tuesday night, the Starkville Academy Volunteers needed double the Richardson.

Raegan and twin brother Brady came through and ended a drought of better than 6 minutes that spanned the third and fourth quarters and hit big shots down the stretch. They combined for 30 points in the game to help the Vols to a 52-49 win and the No. 2 seed in the district tournament.

“They’re seniors," Starkville Academy basketball coach Bruce Allsup said. " They’ve been here and been tested. That’s what we expect of them. They made some big plays that helped us seal the win.”

Raegan scored a team-high 16 points and Brady had 14 in the game, but their rebounding was even bigger. There were nine rebounds from Raegan and a double-double by Brady with his 10 boards.

Free throws won the Vols the game earlier this year against the Panthers but it nearly cost them in this one. The Vols (16-6, 6-2) were a chilly 15-of-28 from the line. Add that to a 16-of-48 shooting performance from the field and they made things difficult on themselves.

It didn’t hold them back from holding a lead for most of the game. Starkville Academy had a 17-15 lead after one quarter but was 1-of-7 from the free-throw line. The Vols had a 29-23 lead at halftime.

It appeared that SA was on its way to pulling that lead out in the third. Noah Methvin and Brady Richardson hit back-to-back 3-pointers with 4:45 left in the third to take the lead to double digits at 35-25. That was the last points scored by the home team for nearly a full quarter.

During that stretch, Canton was able to climb back in it.

“They did a matchup zone that was really giving us trouble and we couldn’t figure it out,” Allsup said. “We were able to start getting some drives and made some things happen, but they’re the best defense we’ve played all year long.”

The Panthers tied the game at 37-37 with 5:45 remaining putting pressure on the Vols to get something going. The Richardson’s ended the drought with back-to-back buckets and eventually held a 48-43 lead with 2:08 left in the game.

“We were careless and going too fast instead of slowing down and letting the game come to us,” Raegan said. “We told everybody to slow down and take a breath. We tried to get everybody focused.”

Canton closed the lead to two points with 35 seconds left, but Brady and Raegan hit three free throws for the win.

Though Heritage Academy gets the No. 1 seed in the district tournament due to the point differential in the two-game split between the teams, SA won a share of the title for the third-straight year.

The Vols will take in senior night on Friday night against Belmont starting with the girls game at 5 p.m.

Girls Game
Starkville Academy 57, Canton Academy 40
Mary Peyton Passons poured in 21 points as the Lady Volunteers made easy work of Canton by 17 points in the final district game of the year.

The Lady Vols started the game up 7-0 and led 12-4 after one quarter and never looked back from there. Passons put up eight points in the second quarter to help take the lead out to 29-15 by halftime.

The lead got as high as 20 points on Passons’ 3-pointer making it 41-21 in the third quarter.

Along with Passons in double figures was Lillee Alpe, who had 12 points.

Allsup praised the work on defense from Aubree Campbell, who had the task of guarding Canton’s best player.  

“Canton has really one great player and Aubree Campbell did a great job on her," Allsup said. "I think she finished with six or eight points. I thought our execution with our girls was unbelievable. It was probably our best game of the year.”

SA (18-11,  6-2) will also be the No. 2 seed in the district tournament.