Riverside has a nickname for their gym at Lake City. They call it "The Pit" and for good reason. Most teams that visit usually come away with a loss. Friday night was no exception as the Rebels used the raucous home fans to rally from a nine point deficit to defeat the Valley View Blazers 54-53 in a thrilling non-conference game Friday night in Riverside's Senior High Homecoming. The victory gave the Rebels a season sweep over the AAA Blazers as they improved their record to 6-2 overall, while the Blazers dropped to 3-3 on the season.
With the Rebel flag waving before the game got underway, the crowd got worked up into a frenzy and never let up on the Blazers as Riverside bounced back from an earlier defeat on Tuesday night at Marmaduke.
The game was close throughout, with Riverside holding a 16-13 edge after the first quarter. The second quarter started with Riverside's Zach Ridge scoring from the inside to give the Rebels a 18-13 lead before Valley View's Josh King answered at the 7:05 mark to make the score 18-15.
Valley View rallied to tie the score at 20-20, when Riverside's M.J. Emery picked up a technical foul after being called for a personal foul, sending the Blazer's Brett Williamson to the free throw line to shoot four free throws. But the crowd seemed to bother the 5'9" senior and the normally sharp shooting guard made only one of the four free throws, giving the Blazers a 21-20 lead. However, the momentum seemed to swing in Valley View's favor, as the Blazers went on a 12-0 run to grab a 31-22 lead with 38 seconds left in the first half. Riverside finally broke their scoring drought right before the buzzer when Jordan Adcock hit a running jumper to pull the Rebels to 31-24 at intermission.
When Ridge picked up his third foul to start the second half to join teammate Tyler Timms, who also had three fouls, things began to look bleak for the hometown Rebels. Valley View stretched their lead back to nine, 38-29, when King scored with 4:49 to go in the third quarter, before former Blazer now Rebel Zac Reynolds drilled a three pointer to cut the margin to 38-32 with 4:30 left in the quarter.
Ridge then hit two free throws at the 3:24 mark, and then Reynolds stole a Blazer pass and drove the length of the floor to pull the Rebels within two, 38-36 with 2:52 left in the third period.
Things really began to heat up on the next possession when Valley View's King was called for a charging foul and also got hit with a technical for arguing the call. Reynolds went to the line and hit both technical shots to complete a 9-0 Rebel run, tying the game at 38-38 with 2:38 to play in the third quarter.
Valley View's Michael Swartz broke the Rebel run with a free throw to give the Blazers a 39-38 lead before Adcock nailed a three from the deep right corner, putting Riverside back on top for the first time since early in the second quarter, 41-39. Williamson closed out the third quarter by hitting one of two free throws, and the Rebels went into the final frame with a 41-40 lead, thanks to a 12-2 run in the last 5:11 of the third period.
The fourth quarter was a see-saw battle, as Valley View took a 43-42 lead when Drew Moss hit a three pointer at the 7:10 mark. Moss then made a steal, drove to the basket, but missed the shot. However, teammate Dustin Osment grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Osment made both free shots to give the Blazers a 45-42 lead with 6:48 left. After a Blazer free throw and a Rebel basket, the Blazers turned the ball over and Adcock again hit a long three pointer, this time off the right wing, to give the Rebels a 48-46 lead with 4:30 left in the game. Matt Loggins tied the score at 48-48 before Ridge gave the Rebels the lead back, 50-48, on an inside move with 3:45 to go. Swartz then scored on a backdoor play at the 3:23 mark, tying the game again at 50-50 with 3:23 left.
But once again, Adcock threw in another bomb, this time deep out of the left corner at the 2:05 mark, giving the Rebels a 53-50 lead. Osment answered for the Blazers with a trey of his own with 1:44 to go to again tie the game, 53-53.
The Rebels then played for the last shot, and with 19.7 seconds left Reynolds was fouled, and went to the free throw line to shoot the double bonus. The 6'2" senior calmly sank the first free throw, giving the Rebels a 54-53 lead before missing the second shot, giving Valley View one last chance to pull out the win.
The Blazers had three shots at the basket, the last coming from Williamson, with three seconds left, but the ball bounced off the rim and Riverside grabbed the rebound and held on for the heart stopping 54-53 victory.
"It was a great high school basketball game," said Valley View Head Coach Jason Manchester "Riverside did a great job in the second half. They played with a lot of composure. We played pretty good tonight, but Riverside has a very good basketball team. This was a great atmosphere and a great crowd. We love coming over here because their crowd is always into it. I told my kids that this is what it's all about. When you play Riverside in Lake City, it is like a district tournament atmosphere."
"This was a great win," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "The atmosphere was fantastic. I give our fans an A plus. They were back into form tonight. We haven't had that the last couple of games, but it was great tonight. I told our kids they should pat our fans on the back."
"It was not a pretty game, but both teams played really hard," continued Campbell. "Adcock made some big shots off some good feeds from Reynolds. Ridge had a good game tonight. Ridge got really pumped and got our crowd into it. I felt like our defense was really good in the second half. Again, it was a great win for us. I am real proud of our effort. Valley View has a real good ball club."
"It was so loud tonight I couldn't hear what Coach Campbell was saying, and I was standing right beside him," stated Riverside Assistant Coach Kevin Hall.
"We got in foul trouble in the first half, but we really stepped it up in the second half," said Riverside Senior Zac Reynolds. "We knew we had to. Timms and Ridge were both in foul trouble in the first half, but both played well in the second half. When King got in foul trouble, we knew we had to get the ball to Ridge, and he responded. Adcock hit some really big shots in the second half."
"We got all pumped up and played together tonight, and we just won," said Senior Captain Zack Ridge.
Riverside placed three players in double figures with Adcock leading the way with 19 points, including three treys. Adcock also pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Reynolds pumped in 16 points, had six steals, five rebounds, and five assists, while Ridge scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, despite sitting out several minutes of the game because of foul problems. Brandon Davis scored the other three points for the Rebels and also snared six boards. Riverside was 10-13 from the charity stripe and hit four three pointers on the evening.
Valley View was led by 6'4" senior Josh King, who led all scorers with 20 points. The Blazers went to the line 32 times, but only connected on 18, a figure that ultimately cost them the game. Valley View hit five treys on the night.
In the junior high game, Riverside remained unbeaten with a 53-39 victory over the Junior Blazers. The Rebels jumped to a 10-4 first quarter lead, and increased their margin to 17 points, 31-14 at the half. Riverside went into the final frame leading 37-22.
Riverside was led in scoring by Garrett Weaver with 17 points in addition to five steals and five assists. Cody Richardson also scored in double digits for the Rebels with 10 points. Glenn Graham scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds before fouling out, while Casey Hook also scored nine. Travis Mays and Bradley Tucker rounded out the Rebel scoring with three points apiece.
Valley View's Josh Cheatham led all scorers with 18 points.
Riverside traveled to Marmaduke on Tuesday night and came away on the short end of a 63-54 score. Justin Ward led Marmaduke with 22 points, including 7-8 from the free throw line in the critical fourth quarter. John Clark added 20 points for the Greyhounds, who were 21-31 at the free throw line. The Greyhounds had two three pointers on the night.
Riverside placed three players in double figures, led by Zach Ridge with 18 points. Zac Reynolds scored 11 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds, while Jordan Adcock had 12 points and five assists. M.J. Emery scored six, Tyler Timms had three and Brandon Davis netted two points for the Rebels, who saw their conference mark fall to 1-1 on the season.
The Rebels only got to the line 10 times, connecting on five, but hit nine treys on the night. Marmaduke held a 34-23 edge on the boards, which proved to be the Rebels' undoing.
Riverside led 15-9 after the first quarter, after building up an eight point lead. Marmaduke stormed back to trail by only two at the half, 30-28. The Greyhounds and Rebels fought to a 35-35 tie with 3:07 left in the third quarter, before the Greyhounds went on an 9-0 run to take a 44-35 lead entering the final quarter.
Riverside battled back and pulled within three, 57-54, with 1:18 to go, but Riverside misfired on a potential game tying three pointer, and Marmaduke nailed down the victory at the free throw line to gain the crucial conference victory.
In the junior high game, Riverside held off a determined Marmaduke team to remain undefeated with a 42-40 victory. Riverside (7-0, 2-0) was led by Casey Hook and Garrett Weaver with 11 points each. Glenn Graham also reached double figures with 10 points. Travis Mays scored eight, while Cody Richardson added two.
Marmaduke was led by Trent Smith and Chris Forsythe who scored 12 points apiece. The Greyhounds dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Riverside led 9-5 after the first quarter before the Greyhounds knotted the score 19-19 at the half. Marmaduke went into the last quarter with a 29-27 lead before the Rebels rallied to keep their two year unbeaten streak alive. The Rebels were 5-10 at the free throw line and hit five three pointers while Marmaduke was 4-8 at the line and hit two treys on the night.
Riverside was scheduled to play Rivercrest on Tuesday night, but due to the Colts participation in the state football playoffs, the game has been cancelled. The Rebels will return to action Friday night when they travel to Bay to face the Yellowjackets in a pivotal 3AA North Conference showdown.