The New Hampstead boys completed a clean sweep of Region 3 on Wednesday with a 48-47 win over rival Benedictine. The Phoenix previously scored a dramatic one-point win (58-57) at Benedictine on Jan. 19 and have now won 12-straight heading into the region tournament. New Hampstead’s 12-game win-streak to close the season is a dramatic leap forward from last year’s finish that saw the Phoenix cap a 12-14 overall record with a five-game losing streak.
There is a likelihood that New Hampstead and Benedictine will cross paths again this week in the Region 3 tournament. In the first meeting, New Hampstead celebrated a thrilling 59-58 road win. The Phoenix were trailing by two points and took the victory on a game-winning three-pointer by RaShawn Truell. During the football season, RaShawn set a school record with 533 yards and five touchdowns in a narrow loss to the Cadets and has kept up the heroics on the hardwood this season. At the time of the breakthrough win over Bendedictine to gain sole possession of first place, it grew New Hampstead’s win-streak to seven-straight games and snapped Benedictine’s six-game win-streak. Benedictine led 55-46 with 2:57 left, but was unable to counter New Hampstead’s furious comeback. The Cadets pushed their lead to 58-53 with 14.5 seconds left, but Toland Daughtrey hit a long three that made it 58-56 with 7.4 left. Benedictine failed to inbounds the ball and Truell picked up the loose ball and knocked down the game-winning shot. Truell finished with a team-high 14 points. The result also snapped Benedictine’s streak of 13-straight home victories in region play. Benedictine was led by junior Caleb Jones—who finished with a game-high 26 points and had a string of 13-straight points in the third quarter to give the Cadets a 45-40 lead heading into the fourth.
In Tuesday’s 48-47 victory, Benedictine’s Jones finished with a game-high 28 points off 11-of-17 shooting, but was the lone Cadet that finished in double-figures. Jones is a 6-foot-3 combo guard that has averaged 30 ppg this season and netted 35 points and seven rebounds in Benedictine’s 78-39 win over Wayne County on Feb. 2 to continue his incredible junior season.
On the girls side, Southwest DeKalb head coach Kathy Richie-Walton achieved the historic 500-win career milestone on Tuesday with a 53-26 road win over Stephenson. The win grew the Panthers’ win-streak to eight-straight and they will host Holy Innocents’ Friday night to determine the No. 1 seed out of Region 6. Richey-Walton began teaching physical education and coaching basketball at Southwest DeKalb in 2002 and has achieved a 499-165 record in her 22 seasons at the helm. Coach Richey Walton has led the school to five state championships since 2008. She has also led the team to three state runner-up finishes during that stretch and has claimed six regional titles. For her efforts, Richey-Walton has been named the DeKalb County Coach of the Year more than 10 times since 2008. She has also been named the Bobby Cremins State Coach of the Year and was named the 2009 Black Coaches and Administrators National High School Coach of the Year. She was inducted into the Southwest DeKalb Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018, the Southwest DeKalb Teacher of the Year in 2014 and the Slippery Rock Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019. Richey-Walton serves as a president in the Georgia High School Association, is a faculty representative on the Southwest DeKalb High School Council and is a member of the Southwest DeKalb Leadership Team. Additionally, coach Richey-Walton established Southwest DeKalb’s varsity lacrosse program and made history in 2019 when the team became the first all-Black girls lacrosse program in GHSA history to reach the playoffs. Prior to taking over the Southwest DeKalb job, Richey-Walton coached at Slippery Rock University for two decades. While there, she coached SRU to its only PSAC title in 1986, won two PSAC West titles, reached PSAC tournament five times and led SRU to NCAA playoffs. Richey-Walton coached The Rock women’s basketball team to an overall record of 82-68 (.546) over six seasons from 1982-86. During that stretch, she led the program to five straight PSAC tournaments, won two PSAC West titles and led the program to its only conference championship in 1986. Her teams ranked in the top 20 in the national poll in both 1983 and 1986 with the 1986 team finishing the year ranked 16th in the final poll after reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In addition to her coaching role at Slippery Rock, Richey-Walton also served as an instructor for classes in coaching basketball, softball, volleyball and tennis from 1982-88. She served brief stints as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa after earning her undergraduate degree from Ashland University and her master’s degree from Iowa before taking her first head coaching job at SRU in 1982.