IRVING, Texas -- Richland (21-3, 9-1 6-5A) weathered a roller coaster performance to grab a 79-68 victory over Irving MacArthur on Friday for its ninth district win.
MacArthur (11-12, 5-4) took Richland by surprise in the first quarter, jumping to a 19-17 lead after the first eight minutes.
Richland, the No. 3 team in the ESPNDallas.com 5A rankings, transitioned into a full-court trap defense that pulled momentum back in its favor, forcing three straight turnovers that turned into six easy points. It was the beginning of a 10-2 run that lasted the remainder of the second quarter, giving Richland a 43-39 lead going into halftime.
Richland’s success came in waves the rest of the game, with spots of sloppy play and streaks of turnovers.
“I think sometimes we make it harder than it has to be," Richland coach Richard Bacon said. "You see spurts where we’re playing excellent basketball and some spurts where we look clueless. That’s somewhat inspiring because I know we haven’t gotten there yet. Some people have already peaked out, and I know we’re not anywhere close to peaking out yet.”
Rickey Roberts led Richland with 22 points.
Girls: Irving MacArthur 66, Richland 51
The Irving MacArthur (26-2, 11-0 6-5A) girls basketball team didn't have its best performance but did what it needed to do to claim a district win over Richland (19-10, 8-4).
After opening the game strong and taking a 25-6 lead, MacArthur played without passion, coach Suzie Oelschlegel said, allowing an inspired Richland squad to stay within striking distance for most of the game.
“I didn’t see a lot of passion,” Oelschlegel said. “I didn’t see a lot of energy at all. I saw a very poor effort tonight -- not all of them, but I was very disappointed in our team play tonight.”
Richland used an 18-9 run in the second quarter to put the game in doubt.
In the end, MacArthur, No. 1 in the ESPNDallas.com 5A rankings, got the job done with the help of a team-high 18 points from Khoria Newman. National standout Alexis Jones scored 16 points despite having a defender following her all over the court. Jones was held scoreless in the third frame.
Richland’s Destiny Nunley led all scorers with 20 points. She also tallied 11 rebounds, three assists and a block in a loss that Richland coach Kate Goldberg said her team can take a lot out of.
“They took away a lot of confidence from this game and they’re ready,” Goldberg said. “They’ve seen they can play with the best of the best.”
The win continues MacArthur’s undefeated streak through District 6-5A play, but it simply wasn’t good enough for Oelschelgel, who said a performance like Friday’s won’t become a trend.
“I thing that [Richland] played really hard,” Oelschelgel said. “I think that they played harder than we did -- period. We’re going to play defense and we’re going to rebound and we’re going to go back to work on that because we’re better than this.”