“Guys were tired from playing all week, five games in four days … and they was telling us guys have to step-up, be ready to go,” Richmond said. “I was feeling it, I was feeling it. Teammates kept encouraging me to keep shooting when I was open, and I just kept going.”
Richmond had his number called at the perfect moment for the Bruins. Northrop held a 2-point halftime lead, but Concordia came out strong in the second half. Following a Thomas Starks 3-pointer and D.J. McCall steal and layup, the Cadets built a 7-point lead, its largest of the night.
That's the moment Richmond started to shine. He scored 11 points as part of a 17-1 run the Bruins made over the final minutes of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth to retake the lead. Richmond would finish with 17 in the game, behind only Brenton Scott and Concordia's McCall, who each had 18.
“You have to give a ton of credit to Antonio Richmond, he was the x-factor tonight,” Concordia head coach Josh Eggold said. “You game plan largely for the twins, and we knew there were some other plays that were capable of stepping up in their roles, but Richmond tonight was the difference in the game.”
Even with Richmond's strong play, Northrop's long few days almost caught up to it at the end of the game. Northrop had its own 7-point lead with less than two minutes to play, but Concordia fought all the way back to a 2-point game after a McCall basket with 48.3 seconds left.
But despite weary legs, which Northrop head coach Barak Coolman said after the game he could tell Brenton and Bryson Scott looked tired, Brenton came through. He managed to find enough energy to hit three of four free throws in the final seconds to put the game away.
“I wasn't trying to focus on my fatigue,” Brenton said. “I was trying to knock down my free throws so we can win this ball game.”
For Northrop its third straight championship also gave it the most team championships in the tournament with 10, breaking a tie with South Side. For Concordia it was its third loss in the championship game.
“It's exciting and it's a testament to all the Bruins that have come before, but it's really about this moment right now,” Coolman said. “Obviously, you saw new pieces step-up today that made great plays … so for us, it's more about the moment than the history.”
And for one night, that moment belonged to Antonio Richmond.