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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Richland rallies to win home opener

Friday, December 14, 2001

ESSEX - Richland's Rebels (4-2) overcame a 25-point deficit as they scored their first home win of the season against North Pemiscot (2-4).

The Rebels used 22 points from Sherome Cole in the fourth quarter to capture the 87-85 victory.

"We decided that we wanted to play in the second half," said Richland's head coach Jimmy Lincoln. "We had a couple of guys that stepped up in the first half, but when we really needed some leadership, you know who was there. I think he (Cole) is the best player in Southeast Missouri when he wants to be."

One of the major highlights of the matchup was that Cole did not start. Cole also did not begin the second half on the floor for the Rebels. When asked about the decision, Coach Lincoln replied that it was a "team decision."

North Pemiscot came out strong in the first quarter by jumping out to a 14-0 lead.

The Mustangs continued to pound the ball into the goal and led 25-10 after the first quarter.

"I thought we rebounded extremely well in the first quarter," said North Pemiscot's head coach Mark Chance. "That was a big part of us leading at the half."

Senior Travis Nelson exploded for 17 points in the second quarter, including three treys, to help the Rebels hold the Mustangs' lead at 14 at the half.

After allowing the Mustangs to collect two more buckets to open the second half, McMullen drilled home two 3s to cut North Pemiscot's lead to 54-41.

"I thought McMullen did a good job of keeping us in the game," quoted Coach Lincoln. "I know its hard to keep playing when your down 25 and that's something I've always liked about him."

With just over a minute left in the third quarter Marcus Redmond completed a 3-point play to bring Richland to within 10 for the first time since the 3:30 mark of the first quarter.

In the fourth quarter Cole began his mastery as he put in 22 of the Rebels' 32 in the final frame.

Cole used a triple and a three point play to cut away at the Mustangs' lead.

While it shifted all game, Cole finally turned all the momentum Richland's way as he was fouled while driving home a dunk.

Coach Lincoln would say later, "That was a huge dunk. There are not many players in high school today that would have dunked that ball without any hesitation."

After the jam, Cole would go 4-5 from the stripe to give RHS an 85-80 lead with :32 left.

With 12 seconds left Shaviste Graudberry was fouled while hitting a jumper, but he missed the point after to cut Richland's lead to three at 85-82.

Nelson pulled the rebound off the Graudberry miss and was struck in the mouth by a flying elbow.

Tyson Finnell came in off the bench and shot Nelson's free throws. Finnell's one striper would eventually prove to be the game winner for Richland.

One of the major keys that Coach Lincoln focused on after the game was the Rebels' intensity.

"We have no big guys," he said. "If we do not come out with intensity then we are not going to beat people. We can't come out like last year and expect to win. We don't have the size to be lazy.

"If we come out every night like we did tonight, there are going to be nights that we will get our butts blown out. If we play with the intensity that we showed in the second half then we can play with people around here, if we don't, we can't."

Also Coach Lincoln commented on Richland receiving an eight seed in the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament this season: "I think we deserve it. We could have been a nine or 10, but I'm happy with it. That's what we were last year.

"We play Hayti right off the bat. They are very athletic and I know we may have some problems with them. Our whole tournament that we are looking forward to is the district tournament. We just have to get better as a team. If we do get past Hayti then we would have Dexter. And right now Dexter would beat us by 40 if we played them."