Riverside downs Manila 40-37 to claim Gerald Jennings Tournament
The Gerald Jennings Junior High Girls Championship finals between Riverside and Manila was a rematch of an early season game between the two rivals. In the first game, Manila came away with the win, but Friday night's title game at Marked Tree belonged to the Lady Rebels as they posted a 40-37 victory over the Lady Lions behind the combined 28 points from Briana Driver and Katey Campbell.
Driver and Campbell scored 14 points each as Riverside took home the championship named for their former superintendent, the late Gerald Jennings.
Riverside took an 8-6 first quarter lead and stretched their advantage to double digits, 21-11, by halftime. The Rebels carried a 31-22 lead into the final quarter and had to hold off one last Manila charge to post a three point win.
Holly Dudley scored six points, Kailey Holt had four, and Morgan Emery, who was saddled with foul trouble much of the night, added two. The Rebels hit 5-14 from the charity stripe and hit one three pointer on the night.
Manila was led by Kimberly Wise who pumped in 15 points while Colleen Kemp added 10 to pace the Lady Lion attack. Manila finished 9-13 from the foul line and hit two three pointers on the night. Other Manila players scoring were Rebekah White 5, Katie Donner 3, Kelcie Misner 2, Jonna Dodd 2.
"We are really happy with this championship," said Riverside Coach Greg Rainwater. "I am very proud of the girls. Katey Campbell and Briana Driver had big games. Holly Dudley scored some key baskets for us down the stretch and Kailey Holt also played well. They are two really good junior high teams. Manila has a great team," concluded Rainwater.
It was the first loss of the season for the Junior Lady Lions.
"The second half got things rolling but we did not come out ready to play the first half," Manila Coach Codie Malloy said. "We had beaten them before and had our hopes up. we got out hustled the first half and did not close gaps and keep the ball out of the middle the first half and missed eight lay-ups under the basket. The second half we started playing and the shots were falling but we were not able to pull it off. A loss is always hard for a good team but hopefully we will mature and grow from it and hopefully we will learn from our mistakes. We are a young team. We have to be mentally prepared each game consistently. We can't come out with our guard down especially against a good team. Loss is not always bad, if you can learn, good can come out of it. This team is receptive to new things. We will start conference season Monday at home against Rivercrest."
Riverside, the number two seed in the tournament, advanced to the championship game by defeating seventh seeded East Poinsett County in Monday night's first round action 41-23. The Lady Rebels advanced to the finals with a 39-24 victory over Gosnell in the semi-finals on Thursday night.
Briana Driver scored 13 points and Katey Campbell finished with 10 to pace the Lady Rebel attack against EPC. Morgan Emery had eight points, Michelle Cobb scored seven, Ashley Calvert netted two points while Kailey Holt chipped in one. Becca Ross led EPC with 10 points.
Driver scored 17 points and Emery added 10 to lead the Lady Rebels over Gosnell. Holt scored six, Campbell had five, while Holly Dudley added one point in the victory over the Pirates.
Riverside jumped to an 11-5 lead over Gosnell after one quarter but saw the Lady Pirates take a 16-14 lead into the dressing room at halftime. Riverside used a 10-2 third quarter to take a 24-18 lead after the third quarter and then exploded in the final period, outscoring Gosnell 15-6, to advance to the championship game.
The top seeded Lady Lions marched their way to the championship game by defeating Buffalo Island Central 31-17 in Wednesday night's quarter-finals. Kimberly Wise led Manila with 10 points while Colleen Kemp and Rebekah White added six points each. Katie Donner had four points, Brooke Hill netted three, while Megan Presson tallied two points for the Lady Lions. Jordan Miller paced the Lady Mustangs with 11 points.
Manila claimed a 41-30 semi-final victory over host Marked Tree as Wise poured in 18 points and Kemp added 13 more to put the Lions in the championship game. Kelce Misner had six points while Donner and White chipped in two points each. Mary Davis led Marked Tree with 14 points. Manila led 13-7 after the first quarter before Marked Tree rallied to tie the score at 20-20 at the half. Manila took a 30-28 lead into the final quarter and then outscored the Lady Indians 11-2 to take home the victory.