Junior Lady Rebels claim 3AA North tourney title
Same teams, different results. Riverside's Junior Lady Rebels got revenge for last year's loss in the 3AA North District Championship game against Maynard by knocking off the number one seeded Tigers 38-33 in Monday night's weather delayed 2006 title game at Monette.
Monday night's game marked the fourth time the two teams have met this year, and counting last year's championship game, the Tigers had won three of the past four meetings. But on this night, it would be the Lady Rebel's turn to celebrate as Riverside, who shared the regular season title with Maynard, grabbed the District Championship for their own.
Kailey Holt scored 13 points and came away with four steals while Briana Driver pumped in 12 more and grabbed nine rebounds as the Lady Rebels finished the season with a sparkling 31-4 record.
Morgan Emery scored six points, snared four rebounds and had three steals while Katey Campbell pitched in five points to go along with seven boards to aid the Rebel cause. Christy Ward hit two critical free throws down the stretch and finished with two points.
Riverside seemingly had the game safely tucked away leading 31-20 with 5:12 to go in the game. But it was at that point that Maynard used the strategy to foul the Lady Rebels who struggled at the line all night, hitting only 12-32 attempts. Riverside missed four straight free throws while the Lady Tigers chopped the lead to 31-24 on a pair of charity tosses by Taylor Cox at the 3:06 mark.
Ward was then fouled and went to the line where she banked home two free throws with 2:50 left to push the Rebel lead back to nine, 33-24. Maynard would not go away as Courtney Oberkrammer hit a three pointer to cut the margin to 33-27 with 2:35 left. After a Holt free throw pushed the Rebel lead to five, Cox connected on a five foot runner and suddenly the margin was four, 33-29, with 2:19 to go. The Rebels continued to struggle down the stretch at the foul line, making only 3-10 foul shots while the Tigers chopped away at the lead, pulling within two when Courtney Simmons and Sarah Blackwell hit back to back buckets, cutting the lead to 35-33 with 1:15 left.
Fortunately for Riverside, that would be the last points for the Lady Tigers and when Holt nailed two free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining, the Rebels had secured the championship.
Simmons led Maynard with 11 points. The Lady Tigers finished 10-17 from the foul line and hit one trey.
"I really felt like we played pretty well, except for some turnovers and our free throw shooting," said Riverside Coach Greg Rainwater. "That was smart on Coach Glenn's part, when he started fouling with 3:00 to go. Next thing you know, Maynard is back in the game. I think we got a little tentative at that point and instead of attacking the basket we started turning the ball over. I am just glad we got to finish up with a win after losing in the finals to Maynard last year. This was a whole lot better. I am very proud of this group. They are very special bunch of kids who have a chance to get even better."
"We didn't have a real good shooting night," said Maynard Coach Sean Glenn. "We really didn't shoot the ball well the whole tournament. We had our shots and opportunities, but the ball just wouldn't go down for us. This has been a good battle all year between two good teams. We won a share of the conference championship and finished 26-2, so you can't ask for much better than that. I am really proud of the girls."