Very few teams over the years have been able to come into "The Pit" at Lake City and come away with a victory. But when the Bay Yellowjackets took a 38-37 lead into the forth quarter it looked as though this might be one of those rare occasions.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, they ran into a fourth quarter "Zac Attack" as Rebel seniors Zac Reynolds and Zach Ridge combined for 22 points, leading Riverside to a crucial 65-60 3AA North Conference victory, propelling the Rebels into sole possession of second place in the league race.
Both Reynolds and Ridge posted double-doubles with Ridge leading the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Reynolds scored 19 points, dished out 10 assists and came away with five steals in addition to hitting three long range treys as the Jackets found it impossible to hold off the Rebel comeback.
Riverside jumped to a 17-14 first quarter lead with Ridge scoring eight points in the opening period. But the Jackets wouldn't go away as 6'4" senior Derek McMasters, who led Bay with 20 points, kept the Yellowjackets in the game as the half ended with the Rebels on top, 26-24.
Bay finally took the lead in the third quarter when sophomore point guard Garrett Bollinger drilled a three pointer out of the left corner. With the Jackets leading by one point entering the fourth quarter, Ridge hit a fade away jumper from just inside the three point arc to give the Rebels a 39-38 lead with 7:37 left in the game. Reynolds then slapped the ball away from Bollinger and Tyler Timms grabbed it and fed Reynolds for the lay-up to give the Rebels a 41-38 lead at the 7:30 mark of the fourth quarter.
After a pair of McMasters free throws pulled the Jackets to 41-40, Reynolds uncorked a three pointer to give the Rebels a 44-40 lead. Following a Bay miss and a foul, Timms then hit two free throws to put Riverside up 46-40 and then following another Bay miss, Ridge scored from the inside to give the Rebels an eight point lead, 48-40. After a Bart Hogan trey brought Bay to 48-43, Reynolds answered again with a baseline jumper to put Riverside up 50-43 with 4:30 remaining. Following Tyrone Harris' lay-up that brought Bay back to within five, 50-45, Reynolds drilled a 25- footer to give the Rebels a 53-45 lead with 4:04 left in the game and it was just a matter of Riverside hitting their free throws down the stretch, which they did, to hold on for the victory.
Joining Reynolds and Ridge in double figures was sophomore Jordan Adcock who had 12 points and five assists. Timms scored nine points before fouling out while Michael Lawrence and Cody Rea netted two points each to round out the Rebel attack.
Bollinger and Justin Hutchison scored 14 points apiece for the Jackets as Bay placed three players in double figures.
Riverside finished 10-17 from the charity stripe and hit seven three pointers on the night while Bay was 15-19 from the free throw line and also hit seven treys.
"This was a great win," Riverside Coach Buster Campbell said. "Bay has a good ball club. I hated to see us blow that 10 point lead we had in the first half, but we couldn't let Ridge get his third foul in the first half and that hurt us leaving him out. We did a good job of running our offense and we shot the ball well. We got some good looks and didn't take a lot of bad shots. We gave great effort tonight and we haven't lost since the NEA Tournament, which is shades of last year's team, so we'll just have to see what happens. Maybe we have it rolling again. Ridge had a solid game. He did a good job scoring inside and got some big rebounds. Tyler (Timms) had a good game. Reynolds got hot in the second half. Adcock also hit some big shots for us. I thought our bench played well. Cody Rea and M. J. Emery did some good things for us. It was a good all around effort and a big win. This bunch (Bay) is hard to beat. They have beaten some good teams. But I thought our rebounding in the second half was the difference," Campbell concluded.
"Not just anybody comes in and wins at "The Pit", Bay Coach Brandon Craig said. "I thought the difference in the game was that Riverside hit some huge shots. Ridge hit some big ones and Reynolds drilled some outside shots that you just can't guard when he is that far out. He is so quick he'll go by you so you have to give him some room. I thought we shot the ball well from the outside. Obviously, we are disappointed but we played hard. That is the hardest we've played in a long time. I was proud of our effort and proud of our kids,"Craig concluded.
In junior high action, Riverside blasted the Yellowjackets 45-14. Garrett Weaver led the way for the Rebels with 11 points while Glen Graham scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds. Cody Richardson had six points, eight assists, and five steals, while Casey Hook and Travis Mays also scored six points. Bradley Tucker finished with three points. Jacob Saffell netted two and Cody Fletcher added one to round out the Rebel attack. Riverside finished the night 7-9 from the free throw line and hit three treys.
Bay was led by Jesse Harris who scored seven points.
Riverside, 17-7 overall and 7-3 in the 3AA North Conference, will travel to Monette Tuesday night to face another arch- rival, Buffalo Island Central. The Rebels will then host Maynard at Caraway Friday night as the Junior High will hold their Homecoming.