'Jacks head north to Richwood

By: Geoffrey Stoute
The Patterson High School boys’ basketball squad will take the more than four hour road trip tonight to Richwood for a Class 3A quarterfinals tilt with a Richwood High School squad that is known for deep playoff runs.

Richwood, the second seed in this year’s Class 3A bracket, has won two state titles since 2005, has made the state finals in 2008 and has made the semifinals in 2007 as well as the last two years.

No. 10 Patterson (24-3) is making its second consecutive quarterfinal trip and its third in four years. In 2009, the Lumberjacks advanced to the state semifinals where they lost to Vidalia High School.

PHS coach Ryan Taylor, whose squad advanced to the quarterfinals with a 53-51 win against No. 7 seed E.D. White on Friday, said Richwood is an athletic squad.

“They press the whole game, so there is no let up,” Taylor said. “We must be mentally focused and ready for the press. We know it is coming, so there are no excuses. They like to get up and down the floor and try to force you to play their style. We need to just play our game.”

Richwood (29-6) advanced to the quarterfinals after knocking off No. 18 Bogalusa on the road, 94-65.

To beat Richwood, Taylor said rebounding and not giving away points off turnovers would be key.

“They are a very good offensive rebounding team,” he said. “That statistic will play a major role in the outcome of the game. We also need to protect the ball. We cannot give them easy buckets from turnovers. Those will be the two major stats that we must win.”

Also, the ’Jacks must remain focused despite the long road trip. Taylor said the lengthy travel only would be an issue if his squad makes it one.

“We just need to be ready to play,” he said. “Nobody is going to feel sorry for us because we are playing on the road. We need to be ourselves. If we do that, we will give ourselves a chance; that is all we can ask for.”

Tonight’s game will begin at 7 o’clock and will be carried live by KBZE (105.9 FM), with pregame beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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