The senior Riverside Rebel boys had a good run in the WBC Tournament at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge last week.
Their first game was on Tuesday against Lynn. This was a fast-paced contest from the very beginning. The Rebels pressed early and Lynn beat the press on their first two possessions. Lynn continued to make the Rebels pay for the press throughout most of the first period.
Riverside Coach Buster Campbell said, "We gave them too many easy baskets off of the press. We wanted to get out and run, because we knew they were big."
Lynn had two players over 6' 4".
The Rebels stuck with their game plan and, by the end of the first period started getting some easy buckets off the press. The lead went back and forth until the middle of the second quarter when the Rebels pulled away slightly.
Dustin Kelems carried the Rebels early offensive load; he hit the boards and asserted himself in the paint. In the second period, the Rebels showed more patience in their offensive set-up. They got into the lane with the dribble drive and got easy shots.
Joe Ellis and Jacob Couch had six points each in the second quarter. At halftime, the Rebels led 32-26.
The Rebels came out pressing again in the second half, and again Lynn made them pay. They beat the press for easy scores and kept the game close.
The Rebels did some scoring of their own in the third. Joe Ellis and Jacob Couch had six apiece again in the third. Ellis had a particularly strong quarter; driving to the basket to break down the defense, hitting jumpers, and getting out the break. At the end of the third, the Rebels led 52-48.
Lynn tied the score at 54 early in the fourth. Kelems scored on two nice post-up moves and gave the Rebels the lead once again. Lynn came right back to score and get fouled. With three minutes left, they missed the foul shots, got the rebound, and put the ball back in to make it 60-58; Rebels lead.
All game long, the Rebels could not get any distance from Lynn, and then the Rebels found Jeremy Eldridge open on the left side of the floor. Eldridge let go of a three-point attempt that hit nothing but net.
Lynn turned the ball over, and the Rebels went back to Eldridge in the exact same spot for the same result. The Rebels led 66-60 with two minutes to go.
Down by three with 26 seconds left, Lynn started to foul to stop the clock. It almost worked as they scored again and trailed 71-69. The Rebels played outstanding defense in the final seconds and stopped Lynn's last two chances to score. The Rebels stole Lynn's last possession, and took a 72-69 victory happily to the locker room.
"This is one of those games where you're thankful to have the win. We didn't get up and down the floor real well, and we had a lot of turnovers," Coach Campbell said.
Scoring for Riverside were Dustin Kelems 18; Joe Ellis 16; Jacob Couch 10 points and seven rebounds; Matt Owens 11; Jeremy Eldridge 10.
James Oliver and Rich Hunter led Lynn with 17 and 16 points respectively.
Riverside vs. Maynard
The Rebels second game in the WBC Tourney was a real barnburner. The match-up was with Maynard.
Both teams got out to a slow start, but midway through the first period the Rebels went on a 10-point run and pulled out to a 14-2 lead.
Strong rebounding on both ends, tough defense, and the Rebels' capitalizing on fast break opportunities sparked the run. Maynard had trouble getting anything going in the first, and the score at the end of the quarter was 23-8.
In the second period, just when it was starting to look like this might be a blowout, Maynard hit a big three pointer and seemed to come to life. The spark came just as the Rebels were feeling the lull from having such a big lead.
By halftime Maynard had made a game out of it. The Rebels led at the half, 30-24.
Coach Campbell said, "I knew they would come back. We had a let down from the big cushion."
In contrast to the slow start of the first half, both teams came out sharp in the third period. Maynard was all over the court on defense and the found their shot from the three-point line. The Rebels exerted their strength on the boards and worked hard to hold on to their lead. By the end of the third, Maynard had closed the gap to 44-42.
The fourth quarter of this game proved to be one of the most exciting of the tournament. One minute in Maynard dropped another three-point shot and took the lead, 45-44. The lead went back and forth for the rest of the game.
Maynard lived off of the three-pointer. The Rebels kept pounding the ball inside, and Jacob Couch calmly hit two very big jumpers from the baseline when his team needed them to stay in the game. With one minute and 30 seconds on the clock, Dustin Kelems went to the line and hit one of two. The Rebels then trailed 57-56.
With 54 seconds left, the Rebels took a foul to stop the clock. They still trailed by one. Maynard missed from the line and gave the Rebels the ball back. Without calling a time-out, the Rebels pushed the ball up the floor. They got off a jumper that came off the rim. Kelems pulled down what was the biggest board of the night and put the ball in for two. The Rebels then led 58-57.
Maynard quickly got the ball down court and got off a shot which rimmed out, and the Rebels got the rebound. With 14 seconds quickly ticking away, the Rebels pushed the ball towards the basket. The Rebels got one or two looks, but no shot went up. With time running out, Joe Ellis found himself in the right corner with the ball. Without any hesitation, he blew by his defender and went strong to basket; scoring what was to be the game winning points.
When asked why he didn't call a timeout on that last possession, Coach Campbell said, "Well, it gives them time to set up their defense. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."
The final score was 60-59, Riverside.
Campbell also said, "It's always a tough game when you let someone back in it the way we did."
Although this was a tough game for the coach and his players, this was simply one of the most exciting finishes in Rebel basketball this season, and was certainly pleasing to the fans that made the drive to College City.
Dustin Kelems led the Rebels with 18 points and nine boards. Jacob Couch put up 14 points and 11 rebounds. Joe Ellis scored 11, and Matt Owens had six points.
Braden Watson led Maynard with 18 points.
The third and final game in the Rebels run at WBC was against Marmaduke in the semi-finals on Friday night.
The two teams came out a little stiff and cold, but Marmaduke heated up quickly. Marmaduke went to the three-point shot early. They also pressed early.
The Rebels got their first quarter points by beating the press. They showed good patience when they set up their offense, but had trouble getting the shots to go down. The first quarter ended with Marmaduke ahead 17-14.
In the second quarter, the game got more physical, and Marmaduke began to pull away behind the outside shooting of their one-man gang Josh Bateman. Bateman ended the night with 38 points. The Rebels couldn't get much to fall and, at the half were behind 29-23.
The Rebels made a strong run in the third. "I thought we were back in it in the third. We made that run but then let them pull away again," remarked Coach Campbell.
After that third quarter run, the Rebels were simply out of gas. Campbell said, "It was a physical game, and they just wore us down."
The Rebels continued to play hard. They continued to press and hit the boards, but they couldn't close the gap.
"We played hard on defense and never quit. We just didn't play smart. We didn't do a good job off the ball on offense," Campbell said.
At the end of four quarters, the tally was Marmaduke 66, Riverside 42.
Matt Owens had a standout night for the Rebels. He did a good job of handling the ball against the full court press and creating points against a tough defense. Owens finished with 18 points.