By Bryant Marks
SOUTH PRINCE GEORGE, VA -- Richard Bland College men's basketball returned home to Statesman Hall for their first home contest of the New Year, Saturday, against Allegany College of Maryland and stunned their opponents with an array of dunks and high intensity to take home the victory, 70-67.
With a record of 8-7 this season after Saturday's win, Richard Bland is finally back playing winning basketball. Statesman Hall has proven to be a place where the team plays at its best as their record at home shows just that, 4-0. The team looks rejuvenated out on the court as key players have stepped up and given the team valuable minutes over and over. RBC will look to take their now 3-game win streak into Brunswick Community College on Wednesday, January 15 at 7 pm with hopes of sustaining this high level of play.
Saturday's matchup against Allegany marked the second time of the season that the Statesmen and Trojans would meet. Allegany took the first contest earlier in 2019, but this time around in 2020, they would face a whole new Statesmen team. Starting off Saturday's game, RBC pushed the pace on offense, going out on the break multiple times and whipping the ball around to find the open man against Allegany's zone defense. The team found success on the defensive end getting big stops and converting them into points on the other end. Halfway through the first half, Kenneth Southerland got another defensive stop that he is so good at getting and took off down the court. He went on a one-man fast break and had one thing on his mind the whole way. As he got to the basket he raised up and cocked the ball back so high that he seemed to look down into the rim. An unfortunate Allegany defender made the mistake of jumping with Southerland with no success as he was put on the poster of all posters in a play that surely could end up on ESPN Top Plays. The Statesmen allowed Allegany to pull within their double-digit lead in the first but would close out the half strong, pulling away from the close contest, 33-27. In the second Bland put it on Allegany on both ends and would increase their lead to double-digits again. Big plays came from the Statesmen starting-five in the second half, as they outscored their first-half efforts. Again, RBC allowed Allegany to stay in the game and they would soon dwindle the Statesmen lead down to 1 with less than 2 minutes left. Clutch free-throws from Derrick Redmon pushed the lead to 3 with less than a second left and would seal the game for Richard Bland, 70-67.
All of the starting-five for Richard Bland scored in double figures on Saturday. Jared Watkins led the way with 16 points including two big breakaway, tomahawk dunks. Kenneth Southerland and Darius Jones both ended with 15 points. Derrick Redmon finished the game with 14 points and Terry Gray Jr. put in 10 points of his own.