WALNUT RIDGE John Clark scored 20 points and Josh Bateman poured in 18 more as the Marmaduke Greyhounds roared from behind to post a 63-43 victory over the Riverside Rebels to claim the Williams Baptist College Invitational Tournament Championship Saturday night at Walnut Ridge.
The 15-2 Greyhounds trailed 18-13 after the first quarter before pulling within one at 29-28 to close the final half, thanks largely to a 10-point outburst late in the second period from 6-2 Senior Kenneth Barham.
Riverside started off strong, building as much as a seven point lead in the first half before Barham nailed two long treys to go along with a couple of inside buckets to keep the Hounds close.
Clark opened the second half with an inside basket to give Marmaduke its first lead of the game 30-29, and the greyhounds never trailed again. The Rebels couldn't buy a bucket and did not score in the third quarter until the 2:13 mark when Dustin Kelems grabbed an offensive rebound for a stick back. Kelems provided the only other Rebel scoring in the third period with two more, and the Rebels found themselves down 44-33 to begin the fourth quarter.
The final period spelled doom for the Reels as it began in similar fashion as the third quarter, with the Hounds' Clark hitting from the inside and Bateman slashing through the Reel defense at will. Marmaduke coasted through the final six minutes and claimed their championship trophy.
An excited Greyhound Coach Steven Richey heaped plenty of praise on his team after their victory.
"It was a war the first half. Riverside came out and played extremely hard. They guarded us well and we had a hard time getting into a flow. At halftime we talked about stepping it up defensively and rebounding. We held them to four points in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth. Our kids really responded well and that allowed us to get into our transition game and John (Bateman) got out in the open floor and made some things happen. When he gets in the open floor, he's awfully hard to handle. But it all started with defense and rebounding."
Richey talked about the play of Barham.
"He came off the bench and hit two big three's in the second quarter. He's just a great rebounder." Richey added that Barham is a "gamer."
On the play of sophomore John Clark, Coach Richey said, "I challenged John at halftime because I thought Kelems was whipping his tail and told him if he didn't guard him we weren't going to win the game. He played probably the best second half defensively that he's played all year. He stepped it up, rebounded, and helped us get the ball out on the break. That let us get into our transition game and from there we took oer the game offensively."
Rebel Coach Buster Campbell was disappointed.
"We folded the tents. We quit doing everything in the second half. We didn't play defense, didn't rebound, didn't shoot the ball. Right now we're a fair weather team. When things are going good we're pretty good. But when things are going bad, we don't stop the blood flow. We just let it happen. We've got to get better."
Clark and Bateman paced four Greyhounds in double figures. In addition to Clark's 20 points, he also pulled down a game high 9 rebounds. Bateman had 9 assists to accompany his 18 points. Barham scored 12 points and pulled down 8 boards while Shane Jortan also scored 11 points and had 8 rebounds. Nick Boggs rounded out Marmaduke's scoring with 2.
Riverside was led by Kelems with 16 points and Matt Owens with 11. Zac Reynolds added 6 points and Joe Ellis and Alex Smith scored 5 each. With the loss, the Rebels drop to 7-9 on the year.