Photo by Jerry Jackson
A Riverdale player tries to grab a rebound as he is surrounding by a couple of Mundy’s Mill players in a Region 4-AAAA game on Friday. Mundy’s Mill won in the final regular-season home game for its seniors.
If only every night were Senior Night.
Mundy’s Mill continued its recent Senior Night success by notching a 62-52 victory over the Riverdale Raiders, while sending off its senior class in style.
“I think this is the third or fourth senior night game we’ve won in a row since I’ve been here,” Tigers coach Royal Maxwell said. “This night is important to our guys, and I think they fed off that energy tonight.”
The Tigers fans honored their eight seniors in Mundy’s Mill’s last home game of the season, and one senior in particular — Rashad Crawford — sent the Tiger faithful home with a couple of memories fit for the highlight reel.
In a game where Riverdale played catch-up most of the way, the Raiders cut what was once a 12-point deficit to three when guard Justin Bridges scored two of his 13 points on a left-handed drive to the basket. But Mundy’s Mill rattled off the last nine points of the game — none of them more dramatic than when Crawford took a pass from Chris Bryant, lifted off from the baseline and finished with a left-handed jam that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
The parting shot for the senior came on the Tigers’ last possession when fellow senior Darrius Sizemore stole the ball, passed it to Crawford who bobbled it, gathered himself and threw down an emphatic two-handed slam for the last of his 14 points.
It was a perfect finish to a game which Maxwell hopes will spark a perfect ending for his talented, yet inconsistent bunch.
“I feel like we’ve been struggling all year because we have failed to play a full four quarters,” Maxwell said. “Tonight is the first time we’ve done that all season. We play good off of momentum and this will help us as we move into the region playoffs. I’m a basketball player too, so I keep telling our kids that it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.”
Indeed, Riverdale jumped out to a much better start in this one. Raiders guard Sateri Powell looked unstoppable early on, scoring his team’s first nine points of the game on his way to a game-high 27 points. Bridges scored the last seven of the first quarter as the Raiders took an early 17-11 lead.
Mundy’s Mill entered the second quarter with a different focus and an intent to take advantage of its height. Darius Sizemore, who led the Tigers with 16 points, scored six of those — all in the paint — during a 12-0 Mundy’s Mill run midway through the quarter that would put the Tigers up for good.
Maxwell said he hopes that this game serves as an omen of greater consistency for his big men.
“We have been bigger than everyone else the last three years. And I’m a big man myself, so we’re not going to give up on them even when they’re inconsistent,” he said. “We’re going to keep throwing it down to them until they start making plays.”
Tigers senior Kari Hobbs also chipped in 10 points and a couple of key steals that helped ward off Riverdale’s attempts to make a late run, as Mundy’s Mill improved to 9-15 overall and 5-12 in Region 4-AAAA play. Riverdale’s loss drops it to 12-12, 10-7 in the fight for fifth place in the region with Forest Park.
Despite the record, Maxwell said he’s not ready to give up on his team as it gets ready for its final regular-season game with Morrow before entering the region tournament.
“That there is a whole other season,” he said. “Everybody will be 0-0 and fighting for the same thing.”