Riverside used a 20 point performance from sophomore guard Cody Richardson plus a strong defensive team performance as the Rebels held off the stubborn Corning Bobcats 56-49 in the semi-finals of the Gerald Jennings Holiday Tournament Saturday night at Caraway.
The Rebels started the game with an 8-0 run as Jordan Adcock and Garrett Weaver nailed back to back three pointers, but Corning closed the quarter with an 8-0 run of their own to knot the score 8-8 after the first period.
Riverside added four more three pointers in the second quarter, two coming from Richardson who came off the bench as the Rebels clung to a slim 28-26 lead at the half. Riverside had built a 26-16 lead with a 10-0 run only to see Corning again battle back with a 10-2 run of their own to close the gap to two by the half. Ricky Stormes scored 11 of his team high 17 points in the first half to lead the Bobcat comeback.
Eric Stormes drove for a lay-in with 5:55 left in the third quarter as the Bobcats tied the game 30-30. But 6'7" sophomore center Glen Graham came right back with two of his own to give the Rebels a 32-30 lead with 5:10 left in the quarter, and the Rebels would never trail again. Weaver hit his third trey of the night just before the third quarter buzzer sounded to give the Rebels a 40-34 lead entering the final quarter.
Riverside built a 12 point lead, 48-36, midway through the fourth quarter and then held on down the stretch as Richardson scored the last six Rebel points, including going 4-4 from the free throw line in the closing seconds to seal the victory.
"We are proud to win, but it was ugly," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "We had some chances early to put Corning away but we kept letting them back in the game. We played good enough to win. Cody (Richardson) gave us a lift off the bench. He shot the ball well early and then drove to the hole to get some points in the second half. Corning played good defense against both Adcock and Graham. We just have to get better and learn how to extend leads. But we are in the finals and we're excited. This is a nice tournament and we'll see if we can get something done Wednesday night."
Riverside shot a blistering 9-20 from beyond the three point arc and finished the night shooting 51 per cent from the field overall. The Rebels placed one other player in double figures as Weaver scored 12 points. Graham finished the night with nine points while Adcock netted eight. Tyler Timms scored five points and dished out a game high 10 assists while Michael Lawrence added two points on the night.
Eric Stormes was the only other Bobcat in double figures, finishing with 14 points. The Bobcats played without post player Nick Arnold who missed the game due to an injury.
Riverside improves to 11-3 with the win and advances to the championship game against Valley View Wednesday night. The Blazers were a 70-64 winner over Gosnell in the other semi-final.
The Rebels will also return to conference action this week as they host Piggott Tuesday night at Caraway before traveling to Rector for a Friday night match-up against the Cougars.