The senior-laden Riverside Lady Rebels came into the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament at Arkansas State University with high hopes of claiming the Class A-AA championship.
The Lady Rebels started out in grand style in the opening round as they rolled all over the Swifton Lady Pirates, 72-37. But their championship hopes came crashing down in the quarterfinals as they lost to Weiner for the second time this season, 65-56.
Amanda Dunigan led the way against Swifton with 25 points, including four three-pointers as the Lady Rebels blew open a 14-point halftime lead with a 25-3 third quarter surge to push their spread to 68-32 and then coasted the rest of the way. Keryn Douglas added 19 points and Miranda Stephens scored 10 as the Lady Rebels had three players in double figures. Amanda Milligan scored eight points, Sam Dunigan netted four, while Hailey Faulkner, Ashley Foster, and Amanda Jo Churchill added two points apiece.
Heidi Manuel scored 21 points and Tabitha Fears added 10 to lead the Lady Pirates in scoring.
In the quarterfinal matchup with the seventh-seeded Weiner Lady Cardinals, the number two-seeded Lady Rebels were looking to avenge one of their three losses on the season and advance to the tournament semifinals.
The game was a see-saw affair in the first half as Weiner led 14-12 after the first quarter and 31-29 at the half. The Lady Cardinals, who have only six players on their team, stretched their lead to 48-41 entering the final period, and moved ahead by as many as 11 before Riverside made one final charge to try to pull out the victory and avoid the upset.
Riverside was forced to foul in the fourth quarter, and Weiner was more than up to the task, as they made 19-23 in the contest. Kamri Mack scored 23 points, while Phenix Butler added 14 more, and Micah Dale pitched in 11.
After falling behind 50-41 to start the final frame, Riverside went on a 5-0 run behind a pair of buckets by Amanda Dunigan and Amanda Milligan and a free throw from Miranda Stephens to cut the lead to 50-46, but that was as close as Riverside would get.
Riverside was its own worst enemy as they committed 21 turnovers and hit only 7-13 from the charity stripe in seeing their record drop to 17-4 on the year. The Lady Rebels were also outrebounded 27-15, which included seven Weiner offensive boards that led to eight second chance points.
Amanda Dunigan again led the scoring for the Lady Rebels with 22 points. Miranda Stephens was the only other Lady Rebel in double figures with 11. Amanda Milligan added eight, Hailey Faulkner scored six, Keryn Douglas netted five, while Amanda Jo Churchill and Sam Dunigan contributed two points each to round out the Riverside attack.
Weiner advanced to a semifinal matchup against Marmaduke, while the Lady Rebels will return to action again on Jan. 5 at Brookland in a non-conference game.