High School Sports

Overhills’ Josh Richmond went from bench player to one of the area’s best

Overhill's Joshua Richmond (12) goes up for basket against Harnett Central's Kaizer Ray (44) and Marquise Longmire (23) during the Boys Championship game of the Harnett County Tip-Off Tournament at Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC on Friday November 18, 2016.
Overhill's Joshua Richmond (12) goes up for basket against Harnett Central's Kaizer Ray (44) and Marquise Longmire (23) during the Boys Championship game of the Harnett County Tip-Off Tournament at Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC on Friday November 18, 2016. newsobserver.com

A year ago, Overhills’ Josh Richmond may have gone two weeks without scoring 44 points. On Friday, in the Mid-South 4A Conference boys basketball tournament championship game, he did it one night.

There is no secret to the point guard’s breakout season. He didn’t hit a sudden growth spurt or overcome some nagging injury.

Richmond is a late-bloomer who determined this would be the year he would blossom. He’s gone from one of the first players off the bench for the Jaguars to one of the best players in the state.

“He played very sparingly for me last year,” Jaguars coach Tony Lewis said. “He stepped his game up tremendously.”

He’s keyed the Harnett County school to its best season since opening in the 2004-05 season, complete with its first conference championship and a Tuesday night home game against Wake Forest to start the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.

“I was just training in the gym all summer,” Richmond said. “I just stuck to it, now things are working for the better.”

Richmond is averaging 22.5 points per game for the 19-5 Jaguars. He’s been held to less than 20 as many times (seven) as he’s scored 25 or more. But despite his scoring prowess, he’s not a high-volume shooter, he’s just accurate: 64 percent from the field (79 percent of his 2-point shots and 43 percent from 3).

No one could’ve seen this coming – or Overhills’ rise from barely making the playoffs to being one of the top seeds – except maybe the 6-2 point guard himself.

“Not a lot of people had faith in us,” Richmond said. “They thought we were going to be a bust, but we proved them wrong.”

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