Richmond Academy coach Steven Nobles is fond of calling his team young.
Any time he needs a reminder, he can pull out the first-half tape of the Musketeers' Class AAAA second-round boys basketball playoff game against Brunswick. The Musketeers plodded through a sleepy first 16 minutes and trailed by one point at halftime.
But their ability to attack Brunswick's zone defense in the third quarter allowed the Musketeers to score 14 unanswered points, which were the difference in their 57-44 victory Wednesday night.
Richmond Academy (27-3), which did not lose at home this season, advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2001. It will meet Glynn Academy, which upset Region 4-AAAA champ Jonesboro, at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Fort Valley State.
Senior Ricardo Glenn led the Musketeers with 21 points and 18 rebounds. Ivan Rushen added 10 points.
Richmond Academy is a team dominated by its seven-member junior class. It starts one senior, one sophomore and three juniors, but Nobles is quick to note that only two have playoff experience: Glenn and junior Desmond Lofland. Three starters played on the junior varsity last season.
"And our JV only plays 12 games," Nobles said. "We're at game (30) now. ... None of them have ever played (30) games in a season before."
He added: "We just went in soft. Playoff basketball is intense. It just didn't click for them."
It also took some time to figure out Brunswick's 3-2 zone, which dropped the player at the top of the zone into the lane. The unusual look is "our bread and butter," Brunswick coach Chris Turner said.
Nobles said he tweaked his offense at halftime to move three players into the post, instead of merely trying to pass the ball into the post from the outside. That allowed for post players such as Glenn and slashers such as Rushen to get better shots, Nobles said.
"There was so much space in the middle," Glenn said.
Turner said his team should have been ahead by more early in the game.
"We kind of got caught thinking we were playing a team that had (won) 26 games," Turner said. "And we missed a lot of easy shots early."
Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.