Cats drilled by Carpenter and Co.
RICHMOND – The Richmond Red Devils – led by future Division I guard Mason Carpenter – lit the Tiernan Center nets on fire Thursday against visiting Franklin County, knocking down 11 3-pointers en route to a 67-34 runaway victory in the regular season finale for both sides.
A field goal to end the first half by Xander Rodriguez (Tanner Weartz assist) and a 3-point bucket by junior Eli Butt to start the second (Quinn Gillman ast.) had the guests thinking positively about a 25-16 deficit.
But the Devils began ripping threes left and right to build a 45-23 advantage at the end of the third and a running clock (61-26) by the 4:30 mark of the game. Carpenter, a sophomore, had 22 points (four 3s) before exiting early in the fourth.
Weartz and Jace Lee had interior answers for Carpenter’s two early bombs in the second half. With the score 31-20, Gunner Kovach hit his only basket of the game – a three – and sophomore Cedric Horton used a Euro step for two after an FC turnover. Out of a timeout, Carpenter drained another triple and junior Ryder Cate dropped in a left-hand layup to make it 41-20.
The 10-0 Red Devil run was stopped by a Butt trey (Gillman assist). With time running out in the third, Brady Morehead was called for a phantom foul on Kainin Turner’s 3-point attempt; Turner made 2 of 3 foul shots as the only player on the court.
Butt’s third 3-pointer (Rodriguez assist) stood as FC’s lone bucket as play moved deeper into the fourth and Richmond reeled off a 20-3 run. A pair of Devil reserves joined Turner in hitting a total of four 3-balls before Horton got loose for a thunderous slam to put the hosts up by 35. Butt added to his team-high 13 points and Landen Wuestefeld hit his second and third from long range (9 pts. on the night) before the final horn.
The Cats struggled against Richmond’s full-court pressure early on, committing two turnovers that helped RHS to a 6-0 lead. A Weartz free throw broke the ice for FC at 5:08. Carpenter then completed a traditional 3-point play to make it 9-1.
The Wildcat defense kept the Devils off the scoreboard for nearly six minutes as Morehead laid one in and Gillman hit from the arc (Lee assist); it was 9-6 after one period.
A couple minutes into the next frame, however, Richmond heated up with Carpenter’s banked three followed by Turner’s triple. Wuestefeld answered from the cheap seats and Butt scored off the backboard to cut the RHS lead to 17-11. The Red Devils scored the next eight points of the game as another Carpenter 3-point play preceded two goals by Cate; the second was a 2-hand slam with the lanky Cate finishing the bonus free throw.
Gillman (3), Weartz (3), Lee (2), Morehead (2) and XRod (2) rounded out FC scoring. Turner put in 13 for RHS, Cate 9 and Horton 6.
FC (9-13) faces Rushville at the Greensburg sectional Tuesday. A win would place the Wildcats in Friday’s semifinal with Batesville, 6 p.m.