Halloween was supposed to have been Sunday, October 31, 2004, but don't tell that to anyone who attended Friday night's conference opener between Riverside and Maynard. In what turned out to be a most bizarre evening, the Rebels managed to come away with an improbable 70-67 victory over the underdog Tigers.
Strange things began to happen even before the game began, as the Tigers, who were celebrating Homecoming, were hit with a technical foul for dunking during pre-game warmups. Riverside's Zac Reynolds gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead before the opening tip-off by hitting the technical shots.
In addition, the clock malfunctioned from start to finish and there was even a discrepancy on the final score as the game was stopped for several minutes in order to determine the exact score.
In between all this post Halloween madness, there was a basketball game. It looked as though the Rebels would run away with the contest as they built up a 14 point lead, 40-26, late in the first half and took a 40-28 lead into the dressing room.
Maynard came out in the second half and outscored Riverside 19-10 to pull within 50-45 entering what turned out to be a fast and furious fourth quarter with the game being decided on yet another technical foul against the Tigers.
Corey Watson started the fourth quarter with a three pointer to pull Maynard to 50-48 at the 7:25 mark and the fight was on. After a free throw by M. J. Emery pushed the Rebel lead back to three, 51-48, Maynard's Mark Blackwell scored and was fouled and completed the three point play to tie the game at 51 with 5:47 left.
Riverside's Brandon Davis then stuck back an offensive board to put the Rebels back in front, 53-51, at the 5:47 mark. Maynard then hit another free throw and took the lead on a basket by Trent Melton to put the Tigers up 54-53 with 4:54 to go in the game. Riverside's Tyler Timms then drilled a three pointer off the left wing to give the Rebels the lead back, 56-54, at the 4:04 mark. Adam Blackwell then flashed to the basket and scored, tying the game at 56 with 3:30 remaining before Riverside's Zach Ridge scored from inside to push the Rebels back in front 58-56 with 3:20 to play.
After a pair of Watson free throws, the Tigers knotted the score at 58-58 with 2:50 to go in the game. Reynolds then turned the ball over, but immediately stole it back, and drove the length of the floor to give the Rebels a 60- 58 lead at the 2:31 mark. Not to be outdone, Watson hit a beautiful 15-foot fade away jumper to tie the score once again at 60-60 with 1:55 to go.
Each team traded buckets and the score was tied at 62-62 with 1:22 to go before Adam Blackwell scored to give Maynard a 64-62 lead with a minute remaining. After a Rebel miss, the Tigers' Mark Blackwell put in an offensive rebound and it looked as though Maynard had control of the game with a 66-62 lead with under a minute remaining. Rebel Jordan Adcock then went to the line, hit the front end of the one and one but missed the bonus, only to see Maynard knock the ball out of bounds, giving the Rebels new life. Adcock then found Brandon Davis all alone for an easy basket to pull the Rebels to within one 66-65, with 28 seconds to go.
With 18.9 seconds left, the ball got loose from Maynard, and the Tigers were called for the foul, sending Davis to the line to shoot the two shot bonus. Davis missed both free throws, and Maynard rebounded and called time out with 17.3 seconds remaining. Fortunately for Riverside, the Tigers threw the inbounds pass away, giving the Rebels the ball back. Again, Adcock found Davis under the basket and Davis was fouled, sending the 5'10" sophomore back to the line where he connected on 1-2 free throws, tying the score at 66-66, and setting up the final frantic seconds.
After a Tiger free throw had given Maynard a 67-66 lead with 14.5 seconds left in the game, Maynard was tagged with the technical foul when Mark Blackwell inadvertently reached over the baseline and slapped the basketball before Riverside's Adcock could in bound the ball. The technical foul sent Reynolds to the line where he calmly sank both free throws to give the Rebels a 68-67 lead. Riverside was then awarded the ball out of bounds. Maynard was forced to foul and unfortunately for the Tigers, it was Reynolds who went back to the free throw stripe where he sank both free throws, giving the Rebels a 70-67 lead with 9.6 seconds to go.
After Tiger time out, Maynard gave the ball to Corey Watson, who launched a three pointer that would have tied the game, but the ball bounced off the rim, and Riverside's Timms grabbed the rebound, securing the victory and ending what could have been a Rebel nightmare.
Riverside rode the early hot outside shooting of guard Zac Reynolds, as the 6'3" senior scored 10 straight points in leading the Rebels to a 19-16 first quarter lead. In the second quarter, 5'8" junior guard M. J. Emery came off the bench and hit three consecutive treys as well as a free throw as the Rebels looked as though they would blow the game open in building a 14 point lead.
A relieved but frustrated Riverside Coach, Buster Campbell, said his team was lucky to get the win, stating, "Our intensity level wasn't there to start the game, but I'll give Maynard credit. They are athletic and they played very well. But the truth is, we are just not getting things done right now. We are making bad decisions both offensively and defensively. We are not coming out ready to play and we are allowing the other team to get to the free throw line too often, especially at the start of a game. We really stressed the fouling situation after the Brookland game Tuesday night, yet we sent Maynard to the line for their first seven points tonight. We have got to improve on that, especially with the heart of our schedule coming up," Campbell concluded.
"We didn't play very good defense in the first half," first year Maynard Head Coach Jeff Roark said. "The second half was a different story. We decided to play ball and we finally got our outside game working to go along with our inside production. We didn't start the season off very well, but I have seen a lot of improvement in the last two games against both Buffalo Island Central and Riverside. I think as the season continues we will get better and better. I am disappointed we lost, obviously, but I was proud of the way we battled back from 14 down. We are young and we have to learn to not make mental mistakes that will cost us games, like the two technicals we had tonight. Riverside is a good team and you can't afford to make those kinds of mistakes against them. They are very well coached,"Roark said.
Maynard placed four players in double figures. Watson, along with Trent Melton, provided the outside punch, scoring 21 and 13 points respectively, while the Blackwell twins, Mark and Adam, gave the Tigers a potent 1-2 inside punch, as they combined for 28 points. Mark Blackwell scored 15 while Adam Blackwell chipped in 13 points.
Riverside was led by Reynolds who scored a game high 32 points to lead the Rebel attack. Emery and Adcock both scored 12 points, as the Rebels placed three players in double figures. Zach Ridge scored eight points before fouling out with 3:03 left in the game. Brandon Davis chipped in six points while Tyler Timms added five.
Riverside finished a paltry 16-31 at the free throw line, while nailing eight three pointers on the night. Maynard was 26-34 at the charity stripe, while hitting on three treys.
The Rebels improved to 5-1 on the season and 1-0 in 3AA North play, while Maynard dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in conference action.
In junior high action, Riverside had a much easier time as the Rebels rolled to a 69-32 victory over the Junior Tigers.
Glenn Graham scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots, while Garrett Weaver scored 13 points and dished out 10 assists to lead the Rebel attack. Casey Hook also scored in double figures for Riverside with 12 points. Travis Mays had eight points and handed out a team high 12 assists, while Cody Richardson scored eight points to go along with eight assists. Rounding out the Riverside scoring was Bradley Tucker, Justin Kellums, and Jacob Saffell, who all scored two points each. The Rebels remain perfect on the season, with a 7-0 overall mark, while picking up their first conference victory of the season. Riverside finished 6-6 at the free throw line and hit three treys on the night.
Riverside - Brookland
On Tuesday night, the Rebels traveled to Brookland and defeated the Bearcats, 64-51. Riverside jumped to a 17-8 first quarter lead only to see the Bearcats rally to tie the score at 23-23 at intermission. Riverside then pulled out to a seven point lead after three quarters, 42-35, and held on for the victory.
Zac Reynolds paced the Rebels with 26 points, eight assists, four steals, and a blocked shot. Reynolds was 7-7 at the free throw line and nailed five treys on the night. The Rebels had two other players in double figures as senior Zach Ridge scored 12 points while pulling down seven rebounds and blocking six shots, while sophomore Jordan Adcock scored 12 points and added five steals and two assists. Tyler Timms had seven points, five assists, and three steals. Brandon Davis chipped in three points, while Blake Stotts and Michael Lawrence scored two points each. Riverside went to the line 33 times, connecting on 22, while nailing six three pointers.
Brookland was led by Eric McGee and Corey Cope who scored 13 and 11 points respectively. The Bearcats shot an incredible 30-33 from the free throw line, while hitting on three treys.
In junior high action, the Rebels rolled to a a 46-27 win. Riverside led 13-7 after the first quarter, and 19-17 at the half. The Rebels clung to a 28-26 lead entering the final quarter, before outscoring Brookland 18-1 in the final frame to blow the game open. Riverside was led by Garrett Weaver with 17 and Glenn Graham with 16 points. Travis Mays scored five points, while Cody Richardson and Casey Hook added four points each.
Brookland was led by Ray Akin with 10 points while Dustin Williams added nine.
Riverside will travel to Marmaduke on Tuesday night before hosting ValleyView for Homecoming at Lake City Friday night.