In the second round of the Capital City Classic at Keenan, Richland Northeast pulled off a late game comeback to topple A.C. Flora 53-51.
Richland Northeast trailed by 10 after a first half mired by turnovers.
“(We had) lack of motivation, lack of guts, lack of everything in the first half,” Cavaliers coach Jason Powell said. “We almost got on the bus and went home at halftime.”
Instead, Powell told his starters they had four minutes in the second half to prove they wanted to play.
The Cavaliers solved A.C. Flora’s man-defense with a fast, physical outside-in game, and with 10:28 left to play, had chopped the Falcons’ advantage to 32-30.
A three-point shot from Quiron Cooke made it a one-point game and, two possessions later, Devante Anderson’s three-point play knotted the score with 7:59 to play.
Richland Northeast took the lead for the first time in the game off a 3-point bucket from Aaron Scott with 4:28 to go.
The Falcons knotted the score again three times, but at the buzzer, Scott’s putback jumper sealed the win for Richland Northeast.
“We’ve got to be better finishers at the end of the game,” Falcons coach Leon Brunson said. “You can attribute that to being young, but we’ve got to finish out games.”
Senior Matt Howard led the Falcons with 27 points. Cooke led the Cavaliers with 18.
Richland Northeast will play host Keenan or Columbia in the final at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.