Riverside's Kithcart dishes out Justice to Pender County
A year ago, Justice Kithcart was having his way in middle school basketball gyms.
On Thursday, the Riverside High freshman point guard scored 20 points on his home floor to help the Pirates beat Pender County 76-59 in the first round of the Tobacco Road Tip Time Invitational.
Kithcart may be young, but he’s ready.
“It’s coming to me pretty easy,” Kithcart said about the transition to high school ball. “I worked pretty hard over the summer. My dad’s been on me.”
Kithcart’s father coached the United Celtics and Team Loaded, Amateur Athletic Union basketball squads based in Durham.
Against Pender, Kithcart was calm when the ball was in his hands, and when he let it go from behind the 3-point line, the 15-year-old 6-footer was in range, hitting three 3s.
“He’s playing very well for us,” Riverside coach Brian Strickland said. “Very, very impressed with where he’s coming and with the potential that he’s got to go.”
Kithcart said the increased speed of the high school game requires more attention to detail.
Riverside’s Jake Kusz scored 12 points, knocking down four 3s.
Pender (3-6), located in Burgaw, got 15 points from Tyrice Murphy and 13 points from Rayshawn Deloach.
Strickland said Riverside (6-5) took good shots against Pender but has to value the basketball more in the second round of the tournament.
“Turnovers,” Strickland said. “We’ve got to cut down on the turnovers.”
Riverside 76, Pender 59
Pender 10 11 18 20—59
Riverside 18 16 24 18—76
PENDER — Tyrice Murphy 15, Quate Mackinze 8, Tamaris Hansley 2, Cameron Guertin 2, Khalil Lewis 7, Rayshawn Deloach 13, Kymothy Murphy 10, Julis Powell 2.
RIVERSIDE — Mike Hodge 8, Jordan McCain 3, Al Hughes 9, Mike Singletary 6, Dexter McCrea 2, Justice Kithcart 20, Jake Kusz 12, Jordan Jones 4, Mike Tillotson 9, Sterling Rogers 3.
Records — Pender 3-6, Riverside 6-5