It is not easy to win a varsity basketball game in the state of Indiana.

Fans frequently look at scheduled games and expect their favorite teams to win over supposedly inferior teams easily. To do so overlooks the pride factor.

The Richmond Red Devils are having a storybook season, which makes them the target of every team they play. When the ‘Devils made the bus trip to Madison to play the 3A Cubs on Saturday, Jan. 13, it was a trap game. There was no established rivalry between the schools that are two hours apart. The Cubs entered the game with a 4-8 record and were expected to lose by a large margin.

The Red Devils opened the game on an 11-2 run. It was easy, maybe too easy.

The Cubs’ pride factor, fueled by an enthusiastic home crowd, kicked in and they fought back. By halftime the Cubs were only trailing by 6 points.

By the end of third quarter the Cubs had cut their deficit to five points, and early in the fourth quarter they took their first lead of the game at 40-39. 

Cedric Horton scored to restore the lead to Richmond at 41-40; the Cubs again regained the lead. It was apparent that the Cubs were not going away.

With less than two minutes to play the ‘Devils were clinging to a 2-point lead at 46-44 before a rebound basket from Julien Smith gave Richmond some breathing room. Baskets from Mason Carpenter and Horton in the final 30 seconds allowed the Red Devils to pull away. A free throw from Braiden Hogg with seven seconds left sealed the deal.

Hogg led Richmond in scoring with a season high of 20 points. Horton scored 16 points and Carpenter scored 12 points. Quincy Reynolds led Madison with 19 points.

With the win, the Red Devils improved to 16-0 and tied the RHS school record for the best start to open a season held by the 1987-88 Red Devils, guided by then head coach George Griffith (HOF). It is only fitting that it was a Billy Wright-coached team that tied the record. Coach Wright was a star player for Coach Griffith when the ‘Devils won the state championship in 1992.

Richmond (16-0)    11    13   13   17   54

Hogg 20, Horton 16, Gavin Haynes 2, Diante Smith 0, Zion Deloney 0, Julien Smith 4, Carpenter 12 – Total 54

Madison (4-9)           7    11   14   17   49

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A version of this article appeared in the January 17 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Dan Harney is a sports reporter at the Western Wayne News.