EXCELSIOR SPRINGS – A summer shootout game might have given Richmond’s varsity boys basketball team a needed boost in preparing for the 2019-20 season.
On June 14, the Spartans faced Excelsior Springs at Excelsior Springs High School to open a shootout that also included Platte County. Bolting out to a double-digit lead, they went on to lead 35-13 at halftime and won 66-34.
Guards Dionte Marquez and Layne Cavanah agreed the Spartans’ energy level against Excelsior Springs was better than it had been the previous day during a shootout at St. Joseph Benton High School.
“Today, we made it an emphasis to make sure we had a lot of energy,” Marquez said. “And our team was just in the game.”
“It seemed like today everybody wanted to be here,” Cavanah said. “Our bench brought energy. (Our) players on the court made energy. You could see it translating, too. We were hitting shots. Everybody was getting excited.”
Varsity coach Kevin Jermain called the performance “a really good bounce back” from Richmond’s final game of the Benton shootout.
“We were confident,” Jermain said. “We were into the game. We were playing hard. And it was good to see that.”
The energy boost almost carried the Spartans to a victory against Platte County, too. As they had done against the Tigers, the Spartans raced out to a double-digit lead. Richmond led 30-19 at halftime. But the Pirates outscored the Spartans 33-19 in the second half to edge Richmond 52-49.
“We competed well, played well. … Maybe (we were) just a slight bit complacent at halftime – being up 11, thinking … ‘We (have) got this where we want it,’” Jermain said. “And they kind of chipped it back down and got back into it pretty quick.”
Richmond’s junior varsity squad also scrimmaged against the Tigers and Pirates. The j.v. Spartans built a 27-11 halftime lead against Excelsior Springs and went on to win 57-23.
Richmond “pushed the ball really well” against the Tigers, Dorton Alexander, the younger brother of 2018 graduate Trevon Alexander, said.
“They really couldn’t stop it because we were just wearing them out … because we were moving it so fast,” Alexander said.
J.v. coach Jacob Swope agreed.
“I feel like we were just more athletic than them, could get up and down (the court) a little bit easier than they could,” Swope said. “And we did a good job (of) pushing the ball and looking up the court and finding the open man.”
The j.v. Spartans fell to Platte County 46-40.
It was the third shootout in as many days for the Spartans. They are slated for three more this month – one at Staley High School in Kansas City, the second one at Raymore-Peculiar High School in Peculiar and the final one at Crest Ridge, Jermain said.
The Staley and Raymore-Peculiar trips mean playing at large-class schools. Those trips are in keeping with Richmond’s desire to play quality teams during their summer schedule, Jermain said.
“We’re … (going to) compete and try to get better and play against good teams and … see what we can do,” he said.