The Richie & Richey show debuted last week at the Lakeside High School gymnasium.
In his first contest as a head basketball coach, Richie Carnes led the Panthers against Harlem High School, while coaching veteran Bill Richey was looking forward to a strong start in his third season with the Lady Panthers.
Richie Carnes made his head coaching debut at Lakeside High School's boys basketball game against Harlem. Lakeside won the game 70-61.
Photo by Mike Howell
But the coaches weren't the feature attraction, and they didn't mind sharing the spotlight when both Lakeside teams won their season openers Tuesday night.
The Lady Panthers used balanced scoring and tenacious defense to top the Lady Dogs 59-27. Nichole Bennett led Lakeside with 15 points, Toya Coard scored 14, Molly McFerran had 9 and Kelly Newman added 8.
The Panthers picked up a 70-61 win, behind the play of Matt Scott (17 points), Matt Josephson (13) and Aris Verrett (10).
Harlem converted some late baskets to trim the final margin. The Bulldogs were led by David Green, who scored a game-high 25 points.
While the closing minutes were a little shaky for Lakeside, Carnes was more anxious when he walked into the gym.
"Unbelievably exciting. I like crowds, and the student section was awesome," Carnes said of his first minutes as a head basketball coach. "I had a lot of anxiety when I got out there. I probably could have jumped higher than anybody when we had the opening tip."
Lakeside started slowly but surged to a 22-12 lead in the second quarter. With 4:52 remaining in the half, Carnes unleashed his football players, who had just joined the squad after finishing up their season on the gridiron.
Junior guard Steven Rogers was one of those football players. He led the area in receiving yards and is expected to be a force on the court as well.
Within 20 seconds of coming off the bench, Rogers recorded a steal and drove in for a layup. Senior Adi Filipovic, another football player, mixed it up under the boards and gave the Panthers some power in the paint. Filipovic and Rogers finished the game with eight points each.
"The football players haven't seen much practice, but I'm very encouraged by their play," Carnes said. "Winning their last football game of the season brought them some new life."
The Lakeside girls, meanwhile, entered the season with high expectations, but got off to a slow start against Harlem.
In the second half, though, Lakeside's defense was in constant motion; the seamless switches from full-court press to trap and from man-to-man to zone gave Harlem fits.
"What we're trying to do is use multiple defenses and give teams different looks," Richey explained.
Lakeside iced the game by outscoring Harlem 23-8 in the third quarter. In the fourth, sophomore Kim Leeds converted several steals into fast-break buckets, while other young players also contributed hustling play.
"A lot of the girls out there at the end were sophomores. The younger players were showing me they could get after it," Richey said. "That's just them wanting to play hard, and that's good because they're pushing Toya and Nichole. I didn't have that luxury last year."
Richie and Richey opened to rave reviews, but the audience is going to get tougher Tuesday, when Burke County High School pays a visit in the Region 3-AAAA opener.
"This year the girls are ready to go, but we shall soon see when we play Burke County," Richey said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.