JONESBORO The Riverside Lady Rebels held off a pesky Swifton team 68-63 to win their opening game of the girls' Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
After falling behind 2-0 to start the game, the Lady Rebels went on a 12-0 run to take a 12-2 lead and looked as though they would blow the Lady Pirates off the court.
However, Swifton, who had only six players dressed out for the game, took a 24-23 lead when Lisa Stevens nailed a 10-foot jumper with 3:06 left in the first half. The Lady Rebels then went on a run of their own to build their lead back to 36-30 at intermission.
Riverside began the third quarter with a 7-2 run and led 43-32 at the 6:33 mark. But the Lady Pirates would not quit and continued to battle the Lady Rebels until Stevens, who had a game high 24 points, fouled out with 5:41 left in the game, leaving Swifton with just five players.
Swifton made one final run and closed within two with 3:05 left when Heidi Manuel drove for a lay-up to pull the Lady Pirates to 60-58. Then Riverside's Keryn Douglas nailed a jumper from the top of the key and Amanda Churchill's offensive rebound basket pushed the lead back to 66-59 to secure Riverside's opening round victory.
"We wanted to wear them down and we couldn't," Riverside Coach Nancy Ritter said. "They are a pretty good ball team. I thought our depth would wear then down, but it never did."
Douglas led the Lady Rebels with 20 points followed closely by Amanda Dunigan's 19. Miranda Stevens tallied nine points, Churchill and Hailey Faulkner scored six each, and Amanda Milligan and Miranda Boyd added four apiece.
In addition to Stevens' 24 points, Savana Smith scored 16 and Manuel tossed in 15 points for Swifton.
Riverside vs. Bay
The second round of the NEA Tournament was not as kind to the Lady Rebels as third-seeded Bay hit 10 three-pointers enroute to a 65-44 romp over Riverside Thursday afternoon at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center.
Bay, 13-2 on the year, opened the game with an eight to one run, but sixth-seeded Riverside, 11-6, fought back to tie the game at nine. That's when the Lady Yellow Jackets started their barrage of threes, to open a 34-25 half time lead.
The onslaught continued in the third quarter, as the Lady Yellow Jackets outscored the Lady Rebels 19-6 to stretch their lead to 53-37 entering the final frame.
"Our team has never been this far in the NEA. We're very excited about it. We started cold, but then started hitting our threes and broke the game open," said Bay Coach Mark Manchester.
Lady Rebel Coach Nancy Ritter said, "They started hitting threes and it was downhill from there. We got down mentally and could never recover."
Amy Ballew led the Lady Yellow Jackets with 18 points while Jessica McMasters added 14 and Lindsey Stewart chipped in 13.
For Riverside, Keryn Douglas led all Rebels with 15 points, followed by Amanda Churchill, Amanda Dunigan, and Miranda Stevens with six each. Miranda Boyd and Hailey Faulkner added four points apiece and Amanda Milligan scored three.
Riverside opened up a 35-19 halftime lead and coasted past Walnut Ridge 59-36 last Monday night in senior girls' basketball.
Keryn Douglas scored a game-high 21 points and had 5 steals for Riverside. Amanda Dunigan notched a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds. Miranda Stephens had 9 points. Amanda Milligan scored 6 points and Miranda Boyd added 6 points and 5 rebounds.
Hailey Faulkner contributed 2 points and 5 steals while Amanda Joe Churchill added 2 points and 6 rebounds.
Walnut Ridge was led by Kenna McEntire and Ashley Hufstedler with 10 points each.
The Riverside Junior High Girls' defeated Walnut Ridge 39-24. The Lady Rebels were led by Marissa Johnson with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 6 steals. Samantha Dunigan contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds. Emma Wilson had 4 points while Magan Adams, Jona Dixon and Shayna Payne each added 2.
The Riverside Seventh grade girls' basketball team lost to Walnut Ridge 22-17 in the first game of the night.
The Lady Rebels were led by Kelsey Turner with 7 points. Christina Ferrara added 4 points. Robin Anderson, Kasey Davis and Kassie Douglas each contributed 2 points. Walnut Ridge was led by Rachel Looney with 10 points.