Since stepping into the state’s boys basketball spotlight with attention-grabbing holiday tournament wins, Richland has gone on a bit of a roller coaster ride in its four-game return to District 6-5A play.
The Rebels (18-3, 6-1 in 6-5A), ranked No. 3 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10, host Grapevine (13-7, 4-3) at 8 p.m. on Friday.
Two weeks ago, Richland defeated defending Class 5A state champion Flower Mound Marcus 58-55 in the second round of the Whataburger Tournament and added a win over Plano West in the third-place game the following day.
Euphoria ended with a wakeup call. In the first district game after the tournament, Richland was beaten on its home floor by 6-5A foe Colleyville Heritage, 51-40, and dropped into a first-place tie with the Panthers.
Richland bounced back with a solid district road win at L.D. Bell, 60-48, and a blowout of rival Haltom, 106-77.
But the roller coaster took another dip in Richland’s narrow 78-76 win at Irving Nimitz on Monday. Nimitz (7-14, 3-4) outscored Richland 28-12 in the third period to take a two-point lead into the final quarter, but the Rebels survived the scare.
In addition to the loss to Colleyville Heritage, the other blemishes on Richland's record came courtesy of Dallas Woodrow Wilson in the season opener (68-63) and Milwaukee (Wis.) King (77-68) in a Whataburger semifinal.
The Rebels’ resume includes wins over DeSoto, Highland Park and Justin Northwest.
Richland has benefited from the play of a pair of senior transfer guards, 6-foot-2 Ricky Roberts and 5-foot-9 Antonio Mayfield Jr.
Roberts, who came over from Marcus, owns a 15.8 scoring average and has been the team’s leading scorer in seven games.
Mayfield, averaging a team-best 16.3 points, found his way to Richland along with his brother Malik, from Milwaukee, Wis. He’s led the Rebels in scoring in 11 games.
Two other Rebels boast double-figure scoring averages. Junior 6-foot-7 wing Leyton Hammonds is averaging 12.3 points per game and 6-foot-7 senior post Kris Brown averages 10.3.