Town Crier Sports Staff
Valley View's Murray Benton had created a buzz around Northeast Arkansas coming into last week's Gerald Jennings Holiday Invitational Tournament at Armorel. The 6'6" senior didn't disappoint the fans that showed up to see what all the talk was about as Benton scored 104 points in three games to lead the Blazers to the championship, culminated by an 84-76 win over top seeded Riverside Saturday night.
Benton pumped in a game high 39 points in the second seeded Blazers victory over the Rebels. Valley View trailed 21-20 after the first quarter but rallied in the second period behind Benton's 13 points to take a 44-39 lead into the dressing room at the half.
Benton continued his hot shooting in the third quarter by ripping three treys to push the Blazer lead to 65-57 heading into the final frame. Leading 77-68 with 2:40 to go, the Blazers hit 7-9 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Rebels and avenge last year's loss to Riverside in the championship game.
Benton was joined in double figures by Drew Kelso who had 12 points while Bryan Bailey added 10 points for the Blazers, who improved to 6-1 on the season.
Riverside (10-5) was led by senior Jordan Adcock who poured in 29 points of his own, while 6'8" junior Glen Graham added 24 more. Cody Richardson also hit double digits for the Rebels with 10 points while Garrett Weaver added six. Caleb McCluskey scored three while Michael Lawrence and Casey Hook added two points apiece.
"These were two teams with different styles of play," said Valley View Coach Jason Manchester. "Riverside has a very good team and Coach Campbell does a great job. I thought we let Richardson penetrate too much in the first half, but we made some adjustments and did a much better job of slowing him down in the second half. We also did a good job on Weaver, who is a very good shooter. Riverside had beaten us four times in a row, so this was a big win for us and we talked about that before the game tonight. We just happened to play a little better than they did. Murray Benton did an outstanding job. He had a great week, scoring 39, 34, and 31 points. He makes bad coaching look smart."
"We came out tonight to try to prove a point," said Murray Benton. "We wanted some respect, something we haven't been getting. We didn't get any first place votes at the coaches meeting for this tournament, and we wanted to prove to this area that we are a good team. We are going to be a force to be reckoned with come state tournament time."
"We didn't take care of the basketball and had way too many turnovers," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "We had a chance to get back in the game but we didn't rebound the ball. Valley View has a good ball club but I think we've proved to folks that we do too. Jordan Adcock had a nice ball game tonight. People want to talk about Benton and rightfully so, but Jordan proved he can play too."
Riverside reached the finals with a thrilling 86-80 double overtime win over Corning on Thursday night. The Rebels took a 19-18 first quarter lead only to see the Bobcats pull ahead 32-29 at the half. Riverside took a 47-43 lead into the final quarter before watching the game go into overtime.
Glen Graham led Riverside with 25 points while Garrett Weaver scored 17 and Jordan Adcock had 16. Cody Richardson tallied 13 and Casey Hook tacked on 11. Michael Lawrence added four points. Riverside was 33-43 from the foul line and hit seven three pointers on the night.
Zack Brown led Corning with 25 points while Logan Hart added 16. Corning was 18-26 from the foul line and hit eight treys on the evening.
Riverside picked up a conference win Friday night downing Cross County 77-61 as Garrett Weaver pumped in 22 points. Cody Richardson scored 18, Jordan Adcock added 17, while Glen Graham put in 13 points. Michael Lawrence scored four and Caleb McCluskey added three. Riverside was 12-20 from the foul line and hit nine three pointers.
Brian Hopkins scored 24 points while Jay Selvey added 21 to pace Cross County. The Thunderbirds were 7-9 from the foul line and nailed eight three pointers on the night.
Riverside held an 18-10 first period advantage and a 32-24 lead at the half. The Rebels took a 53-39 lead into the fourth quarter.
In junior high action, Riverside defeated Armorel 55-36 in the Gerald Jennings Tournament on Tuesday night. Blake Hogan scored 13 points while Sam Elam added 12 to lead the Rebels. Chris Hood scored eight, Dewayne Schrader netted six, Jake Love tallied five, Austin Davis scored four, while Jake Emery , M.. J. Brewer and Josh Driver added two points apiece. Colton Puckett added one point to round out the Rebel attack.
After losing to Manila in the semi-finals of the Gerald Jennings on Thursday night, the junior Rebels bounced back by defeating Cross County by a score of 57-25 on Friday night.
Riverside will return to action Tuesday night when they travel to Earle to face the Bulldogs in a 2A-3 conference match-up. The Rebels will travel to Marked Tree Friday night for another conference tilt.