Congratulations to Head Coach Adam Thomas and his varsity basketball team for their outstanding play over the holiday break.
During the break, the Raiders played in two tournaments: The Scholars’ Four and the First Annual Gulf Coast Classic in Mobile. In the Scholars’ Four, the Raiders met an undefeated Altamont team in the first round of play. The Raiders hit six three pointers in the first quarter to take a nine point lead, 22-13, into the second quarter. The Raiders continued to play well, scoring 11 points in the second quarter, while holding the AHSAA 9th ranked 2A Knights to only one field goal.
The Raiders continued with the hot hand in the third quarter, extending the lead to 44-28. Altamont kept chipping away at the Raider lead and disrupted the Raider tempo with full-court pressure. The cool Raiders maintained their composure, breaking the press and scoring on lay-ups.
In addition to playing sound, fundamental basketball, the Raiders hit 10 three pointers, out-scoring the Knights 30-0 on the long shots.
Final score: Randolph 54-Altamont 42
In the finals, the Raiders took on powerful Montgomery Academy. Trailing 12-11 after the first quarter, the Raiders caught fire and repeatedly found the basket. Both Will Griffin and Ryan Hufford scored 10 points in the first half, giving the Raiders a 31-23 half-time lead. The action in the second half was tight and the score close, as the Eagles rallied to take a 52-51 lead, with one minute to play! With only 33 seconds left on the clock, the Eagles threw the ball away, committing a turnover that would give the Raiders another chance at victory. Since Montgomery Academy had committed only three fouls in the half, the players stepped up their defense and played very aggressively. With eight seconds to play, the Raiders missed a game-winning lay-up, but Senior Boe Santos rebounded the ball. A time-out was called with only 1.3 seconds to play. Here is how it went down: Barrett Butler is set to inbound the ball. Ryan Hufford moves around a screen set by Saahill Katayal, receives the pass, squares-up, and nails a jump shot from the right corner as time expires! Raider Victory! Raider Championship!
What a great come-from-behind team victory!
While the Scholars’ Four Tournament Championship is not the Raiders first, it is the first that the school has won in a long time. Congrats to the players and coaches on a great tournament!
Congratulations are also in order for Ryan Hufford, who was named the Scholars’ Four MVP.
On fire after the Scholars’ Four Championship, the Raiders headed off to Mobile to compete in the Gulf Coast Classic.
The competition was extremely tough, but the Raiders held up well, very well! In the first match-up, the Raiders took on 5A power B. C. Rain. Shooting well, the Raiders jumped out to an eight point lead after the first quarter, 17-9, and extended the lead to ten at the half, 45-35. However, the Raiders managed only two points in the third while the B. C. Rain Red Raiders gained significant ground to trail by only three at the end of the third quarter, 47-44. The fourth quarter was hard fought, with the two teams staying within a few points of each other. With only a few seconds remaining in the game, Boe Santos and Will Griffin each added a free throw to seal the victory for the Raiders, 63-59.
After defeating B. C. Rain, the Raiders took on 10th ranked Murphy High School. Ranked 10th in 7A, the Panthers were a real challenge for the varsity boys, as Murphy jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter. Although the Raiders fought back to regain the lead in the second quarter, Murphy rallied to take a 30-27 lead at the half. Playing scrappy basketball, the Raiders were able to tie the game at 41 all late in the third quarter. Murphy, shooting well late in the third quarter, edged in front and never relinquished the lead again, although the Raiders cut the lead to two late in the fourth quarter. The final score: Murphy 61-Randolph 55.
Once again Ryan Hufford led his team in scoring and was named to the all-tournament team. Also notable was the great scrappy team effort, both on offense and defense, and unselfish play by the Raiders that set the stage for the team’s success.
In the final game of the tournament, the Raiders took on Theodore, another top-ten 7A team out of Mobile. The Raiders played hard but just were unable to find their mark. Despite the loss, this game, just like the others, was a great learning experience for the team. Theodore is a very talented team that will make a run into the state playoffs.
Overall, the varsity boys were 3-2 in the two holiday tournaments. It is absolutely great to see the team play so well against really tough competition. But even more important is the team chemistry that was forged during the challenging match-ups and the potential that affords as the Raiders move forward through the season.
Final Score: Theodore 61-Randolph 30