Riverside Head Coach Buster Campbell said before Thursday night(s semi-final match-up with Gosnell in the Gerald Jennings Holiday Tournament at Manila that the Pirates would be the most talented and physical team Riverside had played to this point. Led by 6'9" Ole Miss signee Jeremy Parnell, Campbell(s words proved prophetic as Gosnell held on for a 59-53 victory over the Rebels to advance to Saturday(s championship game against Buffalo Island Central.
(We just didn(t have any spark,( said Campbell, who added the Rebels came out flat for no apparent reason. (We didn(t take good looks, we weren(t sharp. I(m not taking anything away from Gosnell, but we just didn(t have a lot of life. When you play a team as talented as Gosnell, you had better come ready to play. We had a terrible night shooting the ball. I was very disappointed in our effort tonight. We are a much better team than this,( stated Campbell.
The night started off looking as though the Rebels might handle the Pirates as Riverside jumped out to a 7-2 lead and caused several Gosnell turnovers with its full court press. But then the Rebels went stone cold from the field, and Gosnell battled back, eventually scoring the last six points of the first half to take a 26-20 lead into the dressing room at intermission.
The Rebels came out in the second half by scoring the first four points to pull within two at 26-24, but that was as close as they would get, before the Pirates answered behind the strong inside play of Parnell and company. By the end of the third period, Gosnell had stretched their lead to 41-33 and then blew the game open midway through the final period, building as much as a 14 point lead, 55-41, after a basket by senior point guard Bo Whitaker.
The Rebels tried to rally in the last three minutes of the game, as they finally started to connect from the three point line, but it was too little too late, and the Pirates held on for the win.
Riverside, now 11-5 overall, was led by Matt Owens who poured in 23 points despite being guarded most of the night by the much taller Parnell. Alex Smith joined Owens in double figures with 11, while Michael Dewitt hit three late treys to finish with nine points. Zac Reynolds scored eight, while Zack Ridge completed the Rebel attack with two points.
Parnell led the Pirates with 23 points and also helped Gosnell dominate the boards, finishing with double figures in rebounds as well. Brad Lawrence was the only other Pirate in double digits with 10 points. Gosnell, a football schoool, playing only its fourth game of the year, improved its record to 3-1.
The Rebels had reached the semi-finals by defeating the host team Manila 61-58 Tuesday night. Matt Owens paced Riverside with 20 points, while Zac Reynolds scored 11, including 6-6 at the free throw line, and Zack Ridge also had double figures with 10 points. Rounding out the Rebels( scoring was Michael Dewitt with nine, Alex Smith with eight, and Tyler Timms with three. The Rebels put the game away at the free throw line by hitting 17-24 charity tosses.
Manila was led by Matt Noble, who had a game high 24 points, and Justin Hill who pitched in 19 more. Cody Wells scored five, Derek Wright added four, while Chase Shelton and Jordan Wise added three points apiece.
The Junior High Rebels remained undefeated on the season as they rolled through the tournament by blasting all three opponents to claim the junior high championship. This marks the second tournament championship of the season for the unbeaten junior Rebels, now 14-0. Earlier in the year, Riverside also won the Marmaduke Invitational tournament.
The Junior Rebels first game was a 47-30 victory over Armorel. Brandon Davis paced Riverside with 17 points, while Jordan Adcock and Glenn Graham scored eight apiece. Caleb McCluskey netted six, Cody Richardson added four, Garrett Weaver scored three, and Michael Lawrence pitched in one point.
The Rebels then defeated Manila in the semi-finals, 54-30, as Brandon Davis again led the way with 15 points, and Glenn Graham also had double figures with 10 points. Jordan Adcock and Caleb McCluskey scored nine apiece, Garrett Weaver netted four, Adam Carpenter scored three, while Michael Lawrence and Bradley Tucker added two each.
Manila was led by Dustin Hobeck with 13 points. Sky Morris and Gary Tyler had four apiece, Adam Bloom and Zac Williams pitched in three each, Hunter Veach netted two, while Austin Metheny rounded out the Lion scoring with one point.
Scoring for the Rebels in the championship game saw Jordan Adcock lead the way with a game high 16 points. Glenn Graham scored eight, Brandon Davis had six, Caleb McCluskey and Garrett Weaver netted five apiece, Casey Hook had three, while Michael Lawrence added two points.
Riverside Coach Buster Campbell was excited about his team(s play in the tournament. (We did a great job defensively. I really think we made a statement tonight that we might be someone to be reckoned with the rest of the year,( added the Rebel head coach.
Riverside returns to action Tuesday night at Lake City in a 3AA North Conference game against Crowley(s Ridge Academy. The junior high contest will be a battle of two unbeaten teams. The Rebels will then play another conference game Friday night as they travel to Rector to face the Cougars.