Dwight Richards was all smiles following North Side's 79-71 victory over Homestead on Friday in the regular season finale. Ask the senior forward what is making him so happy, and he could go on for awhile.
He is the leading scorer of a team that has won nine straight entering postseason play.
He feels like part of a family with the Redskins after transferring from Bishop Luers in the offseason.
He is even getting some looks from some collegiate programs, including scholarship offers from Tennessee Tech and Wright State.
Richards also scored a game-high 25 points on Senior Night to pace the Redskins.
Altogether, not a bad senior season for the 6-foot-5 forward.
“Dwight is hungry to showcase his ability,” said North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq. “He feels like he hasn't had an opportunity to do that. Coming over here was a fresh start for him.”
Richards started last year for a Bishop Luers team led by James Blackmon Jr. and Jaylon Smith that finished 14-9 overall with a loss to Adams Central in sectional play. According to Khaliq, Richards barely averaged four points per contest for the Knights.
This year, he is averaging 17 points per game.
“My guy (assistant coach Mitch Sturm) came over here and I feel like it is a family over here,” Richards said. “I have met so many new friends and bonded so well with my teammates.”
That bonding comes easy when Richards is playing the way he was Friday. He hit 5-of-6 3-pointers as North Side never trailed. The Redskins led by as many as 18 before Homestead trimmed the lead late.
North Side (14-5) overcame serious foul trouble while dealing with Caleb Swanigan inside. Oosha Mitchell fouled out while trying to contain the 6-foot-8 freshman while Sean McGee and Richards each finished with four fouls.
But the Redskins hung tough against Swanigan, fouling him out with three minutes to go in the game on a charging call. He finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Spartans (16-6).
“There was good energy from our guys and our seniors came out and got us started off well,” Khaliq said.
No senior got a bigger ovation in pre-game Senior Night festivities than Richards, impressive considering he has been a Redskin for just one year.
“Dwight has always been able to put the ball in the basket but now he is with a group that allows him to do that and he has flourished,” Khaliq said. “He is a welcome addition to us and we have been a welcome addition for him and it has worked out beautifully on both ends.”
NORTH SIDE 79, HOMESTEAD 71
Homestead 6 19 14 32-71
North Side 10 22 22 25-79
Homestead - Osborn 7, Ault 17, Gamble 10, Togashi 2, Coate 5, Geller 7, Swanigan 21, Batt 2.
North Side - Mitchell 6, McGee 14, Davis 5, Jeremy Jones 2, Richards 25, Nygel Jones 14, Crews 11, Ratliff 2.