RICHMOND — When Lisbon High School girls’ basketball coach Julie Petrie discussed her team’s 40-30 Mountain Valley Conference loss to newcomer Richmond Saturday night, there was no disappointment in her voice.
Instead, she praised the Greyhounds, who stood toe-to-toe with the Bobcats in a defensive battle, with neither team giving an inch in a physical contest.
Richmond forward Sydney Underhill-Tilton had 20 points, including all of her team’s scoring in the fourth quarter. Still, Petrie thought her team did a solid job on defending the talented senior, who is closing in on 1,000 career points.
“It was a good matchup,” Petrie, whose team falls to 1-5, said. “We played well. Even though Tilton had 20 points, I thought my girls played her hard. We rebounded well. We just need a big win.”
Richmond struggled in the first quarter, holding an 8-7 lead after eight minutes, mostly due to the strength of Lisbon’s rebounding. Most of the Bobcats’ possessions were one-and-done.
“I was impressed with Lisbon’s 1-2-2 zone, and they took away the middle and penetration,” Richmond coach Mike Ladner said. “We talked about having more desire. That zone, they will always have four players around the basket. When we take an outside shot, everyone needs to crash the boards and recognize.”
Richmond junior Caitlin Kendrick had two key steals and four points in the opening quarter, then added a pair of long 3-pointers in the second as the Bobcats used an 8-0 run to claim a 16-9 lead. Kendrick also had the challenge of guarding Lisbon standout Giana Russo, who had seven first-half points.
“Giana was tough to handle, and it was tough to figure out the screens,” Kendrick said. “This game, we did a good job working the ball around and finding the open person.”
Despite entering the second half with three fouls, Underhill-Tilton took over. She scored five points in the third quarter, including a late three-point play that turned a four-point lead into a 32-25 edge after three.
Underhill-Tilton continued to shine for the Bobcats. She scored five straight points to open the final quarter, giving Richmond its biggest lead of the contest, 37-25.
After struggling to grab rebounds and loose balls in the first half, Richmond rose to the challenge in the second, out-rebounding the Greyhounds 19-9, and forcing 20 turnovers in the game.
Lisbon hung in as Mallory Fairbanks scored six points in the second half to finish with nine. Russo led the Greyhounds with 11 points, and Carly Drischler added six.
“They hit shots in the second half, and we just didn’t get our shots to fall,” Petrie said. “Richmond is a good team, but I saw us grow as a team tonight.”
“I still feel that we haven’t put a whole game together yet,” Ladner said. “We had turnovers in the fourth quarter and had some trouble closing it out.”
Kendrick scored all 10 of her points in the first half and added four steals and three assists. Underhill-Tilton pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds and picked up four steals, with Bryanne Lancaster chipping in six points, seven boards and four steals.
At 4-2 and a makeup game at Mountain Valley slated for Tuesday, Ladner feels his team is right where he thought they were going to be.
“There are no easy games and every night is a grind. It is good to have these tough games. It will prepare us,” Ladner said.
Petrie, meanwhile, is focused on her team’s daily improvement. With a softer schedule in front of them, the Greyhounds will look to pick up a few more victories in the coming weeks.
“We need to win those winnable games, and I believe it is all about confidence with us. We haven’t played a complete game, but I have confidence that we will because we play hard,” Petrie said.
Lisbon shot 33 percent (12-of-36) from the floor, and struggled to a 5-of-14 performance at the free-throw line. Richmond was 14-of-45 from the field and 8-of-16 at the charity stripe.