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Lady Blue Devils eliminated by Musketeers
0218RichmondAcademyBasketball3MH WEB
Richmond Academy's Aleisha Merriweather drives to the hoop against Statesboro during the Region 3-AAAA tournament at Butler High School in Augusta on Monday. (MICHAEL HOLAHAN/The Augusta Chronicle) - photo by MICHAEL HOLAHAN/The Augusta Chronicle

    AUGUSTA — The Richmond Academy and Statesboro girls basketball teams went almost two weeks withoutplaying a game.
    When the layoff finally ended, Richmond Academy made sure it didn't leave without a playoff spot.
    The Lady Musketeers clinched an appearance in the Class AAAA state playoffs by getting a 53-48 win Monday against Statesboro in a Region 3-AAAA Tournament quarterfinal at Butler. Richmond Academy advanced to a semifinal game at 4 p.m. today.
    "Just keep looking ahead," Lady Musketeers coach Peaches Stephens said. "We told them at the beginning of the season, we're in a marathon. Right now, we still got more to go. It's exciting, but it's just like getting closer to the finish line. You're glad you're almost there, but you're not there yet."
    Playing for the first time since beating Burke County on Feb. 4, Richmond Academy looked rusty but still picked up a win to improve to 19-6. Freshman Jasmine Robinson handled the scoring load, getting 20 points. She was also calm late as Richmond Academy saw a 48-41 lead in the final limit get trimmed to 49-48. But Robinson shot nine for 10 at the foul line in the fourth quarter to grab a playoff spot.
    The Lady Musketeers led most of the way, as they never trailed after the first quarter. They also attempted 16 more free throws and went plus-11 at the line to survive.
    Even when the offense sputtered, senior Aleisha Merriweather grabbed important rebounds and Richmond Academy made stops.
    Both Shanikwa Buie and Khayasia Rollins scored 12 points for Statesboro (15-11), which missed a late 3-pointer and then had a turnover with the score just 51-48.
    After going nearly two weeks without a game, Richmond Academy will get two in as many days, with Tuesday's region semifinal next.
    "This team came far and worked every day," Merriweather said. "We're still not done yet, though."