Riverside finally got their defense into gear this past week and the result was two key conference victories. The Rebels traveled to Piggott Tuesday night and came away with a 66-48 win before rolling over Rector 64-44 Friday night at Lake City.
"Our defense is getting better," Riverside Coach Buster Campbell said. "We are not allowing as many easy baskets as we were earlier in the year," stated Campbell, whose team improved to 9-5 overall and 2-3 in 3AA North Conference action.
Riverside scored the first two points of the game against Rector, only to see the Cougars go on a 7-0 run to grab a 7-2 advantage in the early going of Friday night's match-up. The Rebels bounced back and finished the quarter with a 13-2 run of their own to take a 15-9 lead heading into the second period. Riverside stretched their margin to 16 points at the half, 34-18.
The Rebels then lead by as many as 21 points on five different occasions in the second half on their way to their second straight conference win.
The Rebels were led by Zac Reynolds, who poured in a game high 28 points.
The 6'2" senior guard nailed five three pointers on the night in addition to dishing out five assists, coming away with five steals, grabbing four rebounds and blocking a shot.
"Riverside shot the ball well, "Rector Coach Mark Manchester said. "Reynolds was on fire. He presents a tough match-up for us," said the Cougar Head Coach.
Joining Reynolds in double figures was Jordan Adcock who had 12 points. Adcock also grabbed six rebounds. Brandon Davis turned in one of his most complete performances of the season scoring nine points and snaring six rebounds to go along with five steals. Zach Ridge scored eight points after having had a tooth pulled earlier in the day. Tyler Timms added five points, four assists, and two steals, while Michael Lawrence came off the bench to add two points. The Rebels shots 7-10 at the free throw stripe and banged home nine three pointers on the night.
Rector, 6-6 overall and 2-3 in league play, was led by Nathan Wyatt's team high 19 points. Jay Beacham and Jace Speer added seven points each. Jake Holcomb scored six points on two treys, while Clarence Clark and Chase Sain added three and two points respectively. Rector was only 14-26 from the charity stripe and added four three pointers.
In addition to a stifling defense, Riverside held a commanding 31-15 advantage on the boards, which proved to be one of the biggest differences in the game's outcome.
"Almost everyone who got in the game played well and that was what I was expecting early in the year," Campbell said. "We knew Reynolds, Adcock and Tyler (Timms) could shoot the ball, but we haven't all three shot it well on the same night very often. Reynolds really had a good night. Davis (Brandon) was tough on the boards. We got some good assists. We made some good things happen. I like this going into the NEA Tournament. We played with confidence, toughness and did a good job on the boards. This was one of our better efforts of the year. Rector is not a bad ball club. They are big and have some kids who can score," Campbell stated.
"We are not shooting the ball well right now," Manchester said. "We are taking bad shots and not getting any second chance points at all. It seems like the only way we score is if we run a play and someone makes a shot. We are not scoring off turnovers or getting any points off the offensive glass, which is the one thing that bothers me the most. We're just not doing a good enough job on the boards to be as big as we are. We played hard to the end, which is an improvement, because there have been times this season when we have packed it in when we've been down. But we are going to get better. We just have to work on the Fundamentals," added the frustrated Cougar Coach.
In the junior high game, Riverside came away with a 58-34 win over the Cougars. Garrett Weaver led three Rebels in double figures by scoring 20 points. Cody Richardson added a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Richardson also handed out seven assists and came away with five steals. Glen Graham was the other Rebel in double digits with 10 points. Casey Hook scored five, while Bradley Tucker, Jacob Saffell and Cody O'Guinn all scored two points each. Despite not scoring, Travis Mays had a game high eight assists and four rebounds. Riverside was 3-3 at the free throw line and hit three treys on the night.
The Junior Rebels improved to 14-2 and 4-1 in 3AA North Conference action.
Rector was led by Derek Wyss with 12 points while Jackie Graham added 11 more. Rector was 8-12 at the free throw line and hit one three pointer on the night.
Rector won the seventh grade game 35-9.
In Tuesday night(s game at Piggott, Riverside led throughout the game, grabbing a 14-7 first quarter advantage and stretching the margin to 31-19 at the half, before blowing the game open in the third quarter 49-31 entering the final frame.
Riverside placed three players in double figures as Zac Reynolds scored 18, Zach Ridge netted 16, and Jordan Adcock added 12 points to go along with 20 rebounds. Tyler Timms netted seven points, Brandon Davis tallied five, M. J. Emery chipped in four, Caleb McCluskey scored three, and Blake Stotts added two points to round out the Rebel offensive output. Riverside hit 10-15 free throws and nailed seven treys on the night.
Piggott was led by Eric Coleman with 11 points and Chet Vaughn who scored 10. The Mohawks were a dismal 8-20 at the free throw line and hit only two three pointers as they saw their record dip to 2-8 overall and 2-5 in conference action.
In the junior game, Riverside blasted Piggott 51-28.
Garrett Weaver and Glen Graham paced the Rebels with 17 and 14 points respectively. Cody Richardson and Bradley Tucker had six points each. Casey Hook and Travis Mays scored three points apiece, while Tyler Warhurst added two more for the Junior Rebels. Riverside connected on 7-15 from the charity stripe and hit four three pointers.
Piggott was led by Chuck Rice who scored seven points. The Junior Mohawks hit 9-17 free throws and added three treys on the evening.
Riverside also claimed the seventh grade contest 37-29. Daniel McCormick led by Rebels with 14 points. Sam Elam had eight, Josh Driver scored seven, Dewayne Schrader netted five, while Bryan Poe added three points for the Rebels.
Riverside will open NEA Tournament play against Delaplaine, who upset Walnut Ridge 60-56 in first round action Saturday night. The sixth seeded Rebels will play the Indians in a 7:30 match-up Wednesday night.