Riverside Head Coach Buster Campbell knew that his team would have a target on their backs after they captured the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Championship. After being upset at Armorel on Monday night, the Rebels found themselves in another trap Friday night at Brookland. This time the Rebels escaped with a tough 74-68 victory.
Brookland put out their best effort of the year and had the Rebels on the ropes several times before Riverside hit key free throws down the stretch to gain the win.
Riverside held a slim 18-16 lead after the first quarter when Cody Richardson hit a lay-up with 2.6 seconds left to push the Rebels out in front. Riverside never trailed in the second quarter, but the Bearcats would not go away as Corey Cope, who led Brookland with 26 points, teamed with senior Ryan Childers, who pumped in 23 more, to keep the "Cats" within striking distance.
Brookland shot a blistering 5-6 from beyond the three point arc in the first half and hit 9-16 overall as the Rebels clung to a 40-39 lead at the half.
Brookland went on top 45-44 when Cope hit a pair of free throws with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter, but received a severe blow when Childers picked up his fourth foul at the 4:24 mark with Brookland leading 49-44. The two teams traded baskets before Rebel point guard Tyler Timms pulled the Rebels back to two when he drove the lane for a bucket and was fouled. The 5'10" senior nailed his free throw to complete the three point play, trimming the Bearcat lead to 51-49 with 2:29 left in the quarter.
Jordan Adcock, who led the Rebels with 25 points, tied the score 51-51 with a driving lay-in at the 2:03 mark of the quarter. Cope and Adcock traded buckets before Bearcat guard Ray Akin stuck in an offensive board with 1.6 seconds left in the period, giving Brookland a 55-53 lead entering the final quarter.
Adcock started the fourth quarter by bombing a long three pointer to put Riverside up 56-55. Glen Graham's three point play at the 6:35 mark pushed the Rebel advantage to 59-55. But the Bearcats wouldn't go away as Akin nailed a three pointer to pull Brookland back to within one, 61-60, at the 4:02 mark. Riverside then built their lead to five, as Graham and Adcock hit back to back buckets, putting the Rebels up 65-60 with 2:40 to go. Timms sank both ends of a one and one to give the Rebels their biggest lead of the half, 67-60, at the 1:58 mark.
The Bearcats made one last charge as Childers, who had returned to the game, drove the baseline for a basket. Cope then stole the ball and drove for two more, pulling Brookland to within 67-64 with 1:19 left in the game.
The two teams traded free throws before Timms sank 1-2, making the score 70-66 with 53.3 seconds left. Childers was fouled as he attempted to drive the lane and sank both charity tosses, bringing Brookland to within 70-68 with 46.2 seconds remaining. After an Adcock free throw pushed the lead back to 71-68, Childers misfired from 18 feet, and the Rebels' Richardson ran down the loose ball and was fouled. The 5'10" sophomore sank 1-2 free throws to make it a two possession game, 72-68, with 14.3 seconds left. After a Brookland miss, Adcock salted the game away by sinking both ends of the double bonus as the Rebels escaped with the win.
The Rebels finished the night 17-23 from the charity stripe while hitting 5-15 from beyond the three point arc. Riverside finished 26-44 from the field.
Adcock also pulled down seven rebounds while dishing out three assists and blocking three shots. Graham recorded a double-double, scoring 20 points while grabbing 10 boards. Timms finished the night with 15 points. Cody Richardson scored eight points and had five assists. Garrett Weaver finished with five points and handed out seven assists while Michael Lawrence added one point.
Brookland connected on 14-18 from the foul line and was 6-16 from the three point stripe. The Bearcats finished 24-47 from the field.
"I have not been happy with our defense the last two games," relieved Riverside Head Coach Buster Campbell said. "We are not coming out with any intensity on defense. We had a great offensive game. But I give a lot of credit to Brookland. Cope and Childers can play with anybody. We did a little better job on them in the second half, but mainly we just outscored them. Give those two kids (Cope and Childers) credit, they stuck some tough shots. I thought Glen had a good game tonight. Brookland had a lot of trouble with him. All our kids had a good game offensively. We had pretty balanced scoring and had some guys hit some big shots. But we had better start guarding people because we are going to get everyone's best shot. We have to quit turning the ball over late, but I was pleased with our free throw shooting. But again, give Coach (David) Smith credit. His team really played hard tonight," concluded Campbell.
"We played the best game we have played all year," Brookland Coach David Smith said. "We really played hard tonight. We changed our lineup a little, inserted a couple of seniors and it really helped us. Cope and Childers had excellent games. Josh Ray and Eric Dacus really hit the boards well. I thought everyone who played gave it everything they had. It was a big hit for us when Childers had to sit out due to foul trouble. But our other kids stepped up and kept us in striking distance. We played with a lot of intensity tonight. It is a double edged sword with Riverside. They can score both inside and outside. We gave them all we had, but they answered the challenge. Coach Campbell really has them playing well right now. They are hard to beat. They are a proven ball club and they played a heck of a ball game too," concluded Smith.
Riverside traveled to Armorel Tuesday night and got caught in a Tiger trap. Armorel came out with both guns blazing as they streaked to a 16-4 first quarter lead. The Tigers increased their advantage to 21-4 before Riverside went on a 14-5 run to close the Tiger advantage to 26-18 at the half. Riverside continued to battle back and took the lead, 36-33, entering the fourth quarter.
Riverside led 43-38 with 2:00 remaining, but committed a couple of costly turnovers With the score tied 43-43, Armorel's Blake Belford picked off an errant Rebel pass and raced in to hit the game winner with 6.6 seconds left. Riverside had one last chance, but Cody Richardson's running one hander banged hard off the basket as the horn sounded, giving the Tigers a stunning 45-43 upset.
Jordan Adcock was the only Rebel in double figures with 16 points. Garrett Weaver scored eight, Richardson netted six, Tyler Timms tallied five, Michael Lawrence added four, while M.J. Emery and Glen Graham added two points each. Riverside only managed to get to the foul line eight times, hitting on five. The Rebels nailed six treys on the night.
Belford paced the Tigers with 15 points and hit three of the team's six treys on the night. The Tigers. who finished 7-15 from the foul stripe, also got 13 points from Tyler Brooks and 12 points from Keith Cassidy.
In junior high action, Riverside dropped a 48-32 decision to Armorel before coming back Friday night to outlast Brookland 46-44.
In the Brookland game, Cody O'Guinn and Shaun Boatman dropped in 11 points apiece while Tyler Warhurst hit three treys on his way to nine points. Daniel McCormick had six points, Cameron Casey scored five, while Brastain James and Josh Driver added two points each. The Rebels hit 4-10 free throws and tallied six three pointers.
Brookland was led by T. Young who scored 16 points. The Bearcats hit 6-9 from the foul line and hit two treys on the evening.
Brookland led 11-8 after the first quarter and 22-16 at the half. The Rebels battled back in the third quarter and took a 30-29 lead into the fourth period.
Against Armorel, the Rebels were led by Tyler Warhurst's seven points. Cody O'Guinn had six points while Cameron Casey, Daniel McCormick and Shaun Boatman pitched in five points each. Josh Driver and Brastain James added two points apiece. Riverside shot a dismal 6-18 from the free throw line while nailing four three pointers.
Armorel was led by Kyle Cassidy who pumped in a game high 21 points, including all six of the Tiger's three pointers, and Hunter Cortan who added 13 points. The Tigers finished 8-11 from the foul stripe.
Riverside returns to 3AA North Conference action this week beginning Tuesday night as they host
Walnut Ridge at Lake City. The Rebels will then celebrate their Junior High Homecoming as they take on Rector Friday night at Caraway. Riverside will travel to Monette to take on arch-rival Buffalo Island Central Saturday night.