BAY -- The Riverside Rebels exploded out of the gate in the first half on their way to a 23 point lead and then had to hold off a furious second half Bay Rally to post a crucial 84-69 3AA North Conference victory Friday night at the Yellowjacket gymnasium.
Joe Ellis started the explosion with a long three pointer to start the game and the Rebels were off to the races.
The Rebels could do no wrong draining treys, scoring in the paint and working the fast break to perfection in building what seemed to be an insurmountable 47-24 halftime lead.
When Matt Owens connected from half court for a three-pointer that just beat the buzzer, Rebel fans went wild, while the Bay team and its contingent went into the locker room half stunned and in disbelief.
It was a totally different second half as the jackets kept stinging the Rebels with hot shooting of their own from both the field and the free throw line.
Costly turnovers and a cold shooting third quarter saw the Rebels' 23-point lead dwindle to just nine 56-47 by the time the quarter was over.
Bay hit seven of eight free throws and when Davey Webb made a steal off a Rebel pass to score just before the horn sounded, the momentum had switched to the jackets, setting up a wild fourth quarter finish.
Ellis started the final frame with another three-pointer and the Rebels built their lead back to 13, 64-51.
The Jackets would not go away staying in the game with a tenacious defense and hot shooting from the charity stripe.
However, Riverside was able to get to the line as well when Bay was forced to foul and responded by sinking 18 of 25 to seal the deal.
Matt Owens, who led the Rebels with 23 points, sank six straight down the stretch to squelch the Bay rally and give the Rebels their second key road conference win of the year. Riverside moves to 4-6 on the season while more importantly improving to 2-1 in Conference play.
"This is a big conference win," rebel Coach Buster Campbell exclaimed. "
his was an outstanding win. I'm proud and tickled," he added.
Bay coach Shawn Tillery praised the Rebels as well saying their overall record was deceiving because of the tough early schedule Riverside had played.
"I was very proud of how we battled back and didn't quit, but we dug ourselves too deep of a hole," added the Yellowjacket coach.
The rebels placed four players in double figures with Owens 23 leading the way. Ellis added 17, Zac Raynolds 16 and Dustin Kelems 14. Alex Smith and Zac Ridge hit for 5 while Matt Snyder rounded out the Rebel scoring with 4.
Bay had five players in double digits led by Ryan Prince with 18.
In Junior High action Bay pulled off the upset with a 56-43 win behind the hot three-point shooting of Garrett Bollinger who blazed the nets for 23 points.
It was the Rebels first loss of the year dropping their record 9-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
The Rebels were paced by Jordan Adcock with 17. Tyler Timms scored 9, Tim Lawrence had 7, Brandon David 4, M.J. Emery 3, Cody Rea 2, and Kris Kelton 1.
Riverside falls to Weiner on Tuesday
In Tuesday night action at Weiner, the Cardinals handed Riverside a tough 8-78 defeat. Matt Secrease poured in 38 to lead the Cards. Matt Owens blistered the net for 27 to lead four Rebels in double figures. Dustin Kelems scored 13, Zack Reynolds 11, and Alex Smith 10. Joe Ellis scored 9 and Zack Ridged rounded out the scoring with 8.
In the junior high game, the Rebels were all over the Cards 54-25.
Tyler Timms led the way with 9. Tim Lawrence, Caleb McCluskey and Cody Rea had 8 each. Jordan Phillips scored 6, Jordan Adcock 5, Colton Bryan 4, Kris Kelton and M.J. Emery pitched in 2 each.