Richland makes statement with 3rd-place finish

HALTOM CITY, Texas -- In a matter of three days, North Richland Hills Richland put itself on the map as a top area basketball team.

Richland took down ESPNHS Fab 50 No. 4 Flower Mound Marcus on Wednesday and notched a 73-56 win over Plano West on Friday to claim the Whataburger Tournament Orange Bracket third-place trophy.

Ironically, it was Ricky Roberts, a transfer from Marcus, who led the Rebels past his former team with a 27-point performance and followed it with 23 against Plano West, earning him an all-tournament selection.

“Ricky is very important because he can do some things that no one else on this team does,” Richland coach Richard Bacon said. “He’s got physical strength, he can drive the ball and he can score and finish around the basket. I don’t know where we would be without him.”

Roberts wasn’t alone in the winning effort, getting plenty of support from guard Antonio Mayfields Jr., who finished with a game-high 24 points. Holt Harmon led Plano West with 12 points.

Bacon said the win stabilized Richland heading into district play after an emotional Wednesday that saw the Rebels beat Marcus, only to lose to Milwaukee Rufus King in the semifinals.

Richland exceeded its goals coming into the tournament and left the Rebels feeling good as they continue on what is still a long journey to the postseason.

“We said we weren’t going to come out of here any less than 3-1 and I should have said 4-0," Bacon said. "Tonight’s win is really gratifiying because of the way we came back after a hard loss last night.”