As college basketball gets under way this week, several local players look forward to the opening of the season. None is more excited than Akeem Richmond (SLHS), who returns for his senior year with East Carolina University.
Richmond, who played a key role as a reserve last year averaging 10.9 points for the Pirates, breaking all of their three-point shooting records and hitting the CIT Tournament title game winner at the buzzer, is now labeled as the Pirates' go-to guy by Head Coach Jeff Lebo. “Akeem Richmond is a confident kid who can change the dynamic of a game with his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He’ll have an adjustment to make this year, because we lost a couple of All-Conference players that scored a bunch for us. Instead of being the third or fourth option, he’s our number one guy now. But if there’s anyone capable of handling that role, he’s the one.”
ECU lost two key returners in the offseason that included Robert Sampson, who transferred to Georgia Tech, and key reserve Ty Armstrong, who left school just before the start of preseason practice. Despite the unexpected change in personnel, Richmond feels he is up for the challenge. ”I know the young guys are looking up to me and expect me to lead this year. As a team co-captain, I have to lead by example. I can't just look out for myself. I've got to look out for my teammates as well. It's all about the team.”
The Pirates will kick off their season Friday night as they host North Carolina Wesleyan.
Another local player heading into his senior year is 6’8” forward Alex Tucker (LCHS), who joined Bethel University’s roster this summer. The Wildcats tip off tonight against Fisk University and then travel this weekend to Ohio Mid-Western College to participate in the McDonald’s Classic where they will face Ohio Mid-Western on Friday and Tennessee Temple on Saturday.
Josh Mellette (SLHS) returns for his sophomore year with Wake Tech as the Eagles are already off to a 2-0 start, defeating Bryant and Stratton College 70-50 and downing Thomasville Prep 80-47. Mellette scored a double-double in both games. Wake Tech will travel to Vance-Granville CC on Wednesday.
Mark Riches (Grace), Elijah Buie (Grace) and DJ McEachin (Grace) opened their season last Thursday as Davis College downed Christendom College in their season opener. Riches, playing in his first college game, scored 20 points. The Falcons will host Penn State Worthington on Saturday.
Hailee Lilly (LCHS) is midway through her season wrestling in the 130-pound class for McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill. The Bearcats are currently 8-5, dropping last week’s match to Missouri Baptist University 42-4. McKendree will host Missouri Valley College on Friday.
If there any other local athletes playing winter sports that are not listed, please e-mail Jody Stouffer at email@example.com so they can be added to our coverage.
Darcus Elliott (NHS), Ashton Gaines (SLHS), Cody Lanier (LCHS), Ulyess Upchurch (LCHS), Pete West (LCHS) and 19th-ranked UNC Pembroke got back into the win column by ripping Tusculum, 60-20, for a Braves' homecoming win. UNCP scored on 10 of 11 offensive drives, racking up nearly 600 yards of total offense. Elliott finished as the Braves second leading defender collecting four solo tackles and three assists. UNCP will travel Saturday to Valdosta State for a 7:30 p.m. game with coverage provided by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.
In a tumultuous week that saw the resignation of Florida Atlantic’s head coach and defensive coordinator, interim head coach Brian Wright and the Fighting Owls football team (3-6, 2-4) earned an emotional homecoming win over Tulane, 34-17. Senior Andrew Stryffeler (LCHS) saw time at defensive end for FAU. The Owls will have a bye week this week as the coaching staff reorganizes before traveling to Southern Miss on Nov. 16.
North Greenville scored 21 fourth quarter points to rally for a 38-34 victory over Brian Stryffeler (LCHS), Freddie McCollum (SLHS) and Wingate University (4-4, 2-2), spoiling the Bulldogs' homecoming. Stryffeler started at right offensive tackle for Wingate’s offensive line. The Bulldogs will travel to Mars Hill on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.
Dequan Swann (LCHS) and North Carolina A&T (5-3, 3-3) routed Virginia University of Lynchburg in a lopsided 59-12 homecoming win. Swann started at split end, pulling in one reception for 18 yards. The Aggies will travel to Baltimore on Saturday to face Morgan State in a 1 p.m. game.
Michael Reives (SLHS) and Averett University (1-7, 0-5) lost their fifth in a row as the Cougars fell to Huntingdon College, 50-20. Reives finished with three solo tackles and two assists. Reives has played in all eight of the Cougars games this season and ranks ninth on the defensive list with 20 solo tackles and seven assists, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one pass break up and one pass deflection. Averett will travel to Newport News, Va., on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game with Christopher Newport University.
Brian Hudson scored on an 11-yard run with 1:07 remaining in the game to lift Danny Dillon (LCHS), Dalton Brown (NHS) and Campbell University (2-7, 1-5) to a 19-18 win over Stetson, snapping a six-game losing streak and giving the Fighting Camels their first conference win of the year. Jonathon Rogers returned a fourth quarter kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown marking Campbell’s longest kick return in its six-season modern era. Brown started at center for the Fighting Camels for the ninth time this year while Dillon handled all of the long snapping duties. Campbell will return to Buies Creek on Saturday to host Marist at 1 p.m.
Chase Arrington (LCHS) and Gardner-Webb got back into the win column by destroying Warner College, 51-14. The Runnin’ Bulldog offense had a season-high day rushing the ball for 301 yards en route to racking up 570 yards of total offense. Gardner-Webb will travel to VMI on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game to be broadcast on ESPN3.
Tre Wells (LCHS) and Greensboro College (2-7, 1-5) suffered a tough senior day loss by falling to Methodist University, 51-50. The Pride will travel to Maryville on Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. game.
Tony Marsh (CCHS), James Foushee (LCHS), Reese Setzer (LCHS) and Guilford College (5-3, 4-1) suffered their first conference loss as Hampden-Sydney destroyed the Quakers 52-0, creating a three-way tie for first place in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference between Hampden-Sydney, Guilford and Randolph-Macon. The Quakers will travel to Catholic on Saturday for a noon kickoff.
T.J. Lett (LCHS), Austin Johnson (LCHS) and Brevard College (2-6, 1-4) dropped their homecoming game to Catawba, 34-17. The Tornados will travel on Saturday to Newberry in a 1 p.m. contest.
Ben Grossfuss (LCHS) and Lynchburg College (11-5-2, 8-2-1) defeated Roanoke College twice this past week as the Hornets closed out their regular season by defeating the Maroons 2-1 in overtime. They would again meet Roanoke in the quarterfinals of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament, downing the Maroons a second time 1-0. Lynchburg will now face Virginia Wesleyan in the ODAC semifinals on Wednesday.
Olivia Sturdivant (LCHS) picked up her eighth shutout of the year in goal as she played all 90 minutes of Kennesaw State’s 1-0 first-round Atlantic Sun Conference Championships victory over Lipscomb. The Bison were limited to three shots on goal with Sturdivant picking up three saves. The Owls (9-8-1, 5-3-1) will now advance to the A-Sun semifinal match against second-ranked Jacksonville. K-State scored a double overtime 2-1 win over the Dolphins in their previous meeting this year.
Jill Davis (LCHS) and High Point University (9-9-1, 6-4-1) are getting hot at the right time of the year. The Panthers extended their win streak to four games in blanking Campbell 2-0 in the regular season finale and then defeated third-ranked Longwood 3-1 in the first round of the Big South Tournament in Farmville, Va. High Point will now advance to the Big South semifinals where they will play the winner of the Liberty / Presbyterian game Friday night in Myrtle Beach.
Vicky Monroy (SLHS) and Methodist University (11-7-2, 8-3-1) closed out their regular season with a lopsided 7-1 win over Ferrum, with Monroy contributing to the victory by scoring a goal. The Monarchs, however, made a quick exit from the USA South Tournament as they were bounced in the first round by Meredith which earned the 1-0 OT victory to end Methodist’s 2013 season.
Men’s Cross Country
Michael Cherry (SLHS) and the Mount Olive cross country team will travel to Charlotte on Friday to compete in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
Women’s Cross Country
Mollie Schrull (LCHS) and Meredith College defeated seven other teams to win the 2013 USA South Conference Championship, their first conference title in program history. The Avenging Angels placed five runners in the top 10 and 12 runners in the top 50 to lock up the victory. Schrull finished 49th out of 77 competitiors with a time of 31:25.21. The top seven Meredith runners will now advance to the NCAA South/Southeast Regionals to be held at Christopher Newport University on Nov. 16.
Keely Wood (SLHS) and Wingate University will travel to McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte on Saturday to compete in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
Micah Lawrence and Barton College tied for fourth out of nine teams in the Pirate Intercollegiate at the Brook Valley course at Greenville CC in Greenville last week. This now completes the fall portion of their 2013-2014 golf season. The Bulldogs will resume play on March 17, 2014 at the Barton Intercollegiate at the Wilson Country Club.