Bay placed three players in double figures and held off a late Riverside rally to hold on for a 60-54 3AA North Conference victory Friday night at Bay.
Both teams traded baskets in the first quarter with the period ending in a 12-12 tie. However, the big play in the first quarter came when Riverside's post player, Zach Ridge, was called for an offensive foul, his third of the game. Ridge was then tagged with a technical, giving him four fouls, and sending him to the bench until midway in the fourth quarter, removing Riverside's main inside scoring threat as well as their top rebounder.
"When Ridge picked up his fourth foul in the first half, we felt like we were in control of the game," said Bay Yellowjackets Coach Brandon Craig. "What I was disappointed with was we didn't capitalize when Ridge was out. We waited until Ridge came back in to make a run that put the game away. I thought our players relaxed and thought they had the game well in hand. But give Riverside credit for hanging in there."
"We've got to get smart enough to put teams away when one of their best players is gone, especially, when you have good post players like we do," added Craig.
The Yellowjackets broke away from the 12-12 tie to take a 27-20 lead into the dressing room at intermission, before the Rebels rallied in the third quarter to pull within 38-36. Riverside eventually pulled ahead by one before Bay went on a late run to go up by 11 and then the Jackets salted the game away at the free throw line as Seth Southard, who scored seven points, went 7-8 at the free throw line down the stretch.
Riverside tried to make a comeback in the last two minutes when sharp shooting senior Zac Reynolds hit a pair of three pointers, but it was too little, too late, as the Rebels dropped to 6-3 on the year, and 1-2 in league play. Reynolds was also 7-8 at the free throw line and dished out seven assists, although he had an off night shooting the basketball.
Despite a gutty performance by Riverside senior Blake Stotts, who replaced Ridge, the Yellowjackets dominated the paint as 6'4"senior Justin Hutchison scored 15 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out five assists. Six foot three senior Derek McMasters scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots for the Yellowjackets. Sophomore point guard 6"3" Garrett Bollinger, playing what Craig called Bollinger's "best game of the year," scored 15 points and handled Riverside's press throughout the night. Tyrone Harris came off the bench and nailed a pair of treys to finish with six points while Will Scott added four before fouling out. Bay improves to 3-4 overall and claimed their first home victory of the season. More importantly, the Yellowjackets improved to 2-1 in league play.
Riverside was led by Reynolds who scored 20 points, but was the only Rebel to reach double figures. Bay held normally high scoring Jordan Adcock to just four points as the Rebels struggled to find their shooting touch. Adcock did pull down eight rebounds. Ridge finished with seven points, despite playing only a quarter and a half before fouling out with over four minutes left in the game. Tyler Timms and M.J. Emery had six points each, with all their scoring coming from beyond the three point arc. Michael Lawrence came off the bench to score six points while Stotts pitched in four and Brandon Davis added one.
"This may sound strange, but we have to be a little encouraged," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "We are not playing anywhere like we are capable of playing, and we still only lost by six points. Bay has a very good ball club. Our big guy (Ridge) has to learn to stay in the game. We also have to have better shot selection. You have to give Bay credit, part of our reason for poor shooting tonight was their defense. Stotts came in and did a great job and I also thought Tyler (Timms) had his best game of the year. Adcock and Reynolds had off nights. If we ever get things together, we can be a force to be reckoned with. But right now, we are hit and miss."
Riverside finished 15-22 at the free throw line and hit seven three pointers on the night, while the Yellowjackets were 16-27 at the charity stripe and hit four treys.
In the junior game, Glenn Graham poured in 23 points as Riverside remained unbeaten with a 51-43 win. The Rebels improved to 10-0 on the season and 3-0 in conference action. Bay (0-9) was led by Zach. Seymour who scored 15 points.
Riverside will return to action Tuesday night to play arch-rival Buffalo Island Central at Caraway, while Bay will play host to Maynard on Tuesday.