Town Crier sports Staff
For the past two years, Bay has been a thorn in the side of Buster Campbell's Rebels, winning five of the last six match-ups, including a win Dec. 19 over Riverside at Lake City in the Rebel's last game prior to this year's Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament.
Wednesday afternoon's semi-final match-up looked like another Bay win when the Yellowjackets jumped to a 25-6 first period lead, but this time the Rebels persevered and roared from behind to take a thrilling 56-53 victory and advance to the finals, giving Riverside a chance to defend their NEA championship.
Things looked bleak in the early going for Riverside when the Yellowjackets hit four consecutive three pointers in building a 16-4 advantage. After an offensive stick-back by Glen Graham cut the lead to 16-6, Bay went on a 10-0 run to push the Jacket lead up to 19. Riverside closed the quarter with back to back treys from juniors Cody Richardson and Casey Hook, but the Yellowjackets still held a 27-12 lead at the break.
Riverside began their comeback in the second quarter by outscoring Bay 20-9 to pull within 36-32 at the half. The Rebels closed to within two, 34-32, with 1:27 left before intermission on a Jordan Adcock trey, but Garrett Bollinger, who led all scorers with 25 points, hit a pair of free throws to give Bay a four point lead as the two teams headed to the dressing room,
Jordan Adcock opened the third period with a bucket to cut the Jacket lead to two, but a three pointer from Tyler Q. Griffin, a pair of Bollinger free throws, and another Bollinger basket pushed Bay's lead to 43-36 at the 5:07 mark.
Cody Richardson answered Bay's run with an offensive stick-back and a free throw to complete a three point play and narrow the Yellowjacket lead to 43-39. After Griffin connected on a pair of charity tosses, Graham snared an offensive rebound, threw in a baby hook and was fouled on the play. Graham's free throw cut the Bay lead to 45-42 with 2:03 left in the quarter and neither team could manage any more scoring as the period came to a close.
The Rebels struck first in the fourth period on a five foot jumper from Richardson, but Bollinger answered with a 10-footer of his own to keep the Bay lead at three, 47-44. Graham connected from inside, and following a Bay miss, Garrett Weaver stroked in a 10-foot floater to give Riverside their first lead of the game, 48-47, with 6:05 left to play.
Bollinger ripped the nets with back to back 12-footers, putting Bay back on top 51-48, before Richardson drove the lane for two to pull the Rebels to one, 51-50, with 3:13 remaining. Richardson struck again moments later, coming up with a steal while driving the length of the court to give Riverside the lead , 52-51, but with 1:25 left Bay's Jerome Harris grabbed a Bollinger miss and stuck in the rebound, giving Bay their last lead of the day, 53-52.
Graham, who scored 15 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, put the Rebels back on top for good with a seven-foot bank shot between two Yellowjacket defenders as Riverside took a 54-53 lead with 1:07 left.
Bay misfired on their next possession and Graham pulled down the rebound. The Yellowjackets were forced to foul and sent Garrett Weaver to the line with 42.9 seconds to play. Bay Coach Brad Brannen called time out, and when play resumed Weaver misfired on the front end of the one and one, giving the Jackets possession.
The Yellowjackets decided to play for the last shot and set up a play for Bollinger, but the 6'3" senior had to give the ball up when the Rebels double teamed, forcing Tyrone Harris to take the potential game winning shot. Harris' 10-foot jumper missed the mark and Graham pulled down his biggest rebound of the night with 4.7 seconds left. The 6'8" junior was fouled and went to the line where he calmly sank both ends of the one and one to put the Rebels up 56-53.
Bay had one last chance, but their inbounds pass was picked off by Richardson, who grabbed the ball in mid air while calling time out. Following the timeout, Adcock in-bounded the ball to Weaver and the clock ran out, sending Riverside to the finals where they will play Izard County Consolidated. The championship game will pit the two top seeded teams.
Riverside was led in scoring by Richardson who finished with 18 points. Graham had a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Adcock scored nine points and dished out five assists while Weaver also scored nine. Casey Hook added five points for Riverside, who shot 13-19 from the foul line and finished with five treys on the day.
Joining Bollinger in double figures for Bay was Tyrone Harris and Tyler Q. Griffin, who scored 11 points apiece. Bay was 8-8 from the free throw line and hit seven three pointers, five of which came in the first quarter.
Riverside 69, Turrell 48 quarter-finals
Riverside advanced to the semi-finals of the 60th annual NEA Tournament with a 69-48 thumping of the Turrell Rockets Saturday night at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
The defending champion Rebels were led by Garrett Weaver who scored 22 points while Cody Richardson and Glen Graham scored 16 points apiece. Richardson also dished out six assists. Jordan Adcock scored six points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Caleb McCluskey scored five, Casey Hook tallied two while Tyler Warhurst and Cameron Casey added one point each. Riverside was 16-23 from the foul stripe and hit three treys.
Travis Postell led the Rockets with 15 points while Detrick Brown and Travis Selvy finished with 12 and 10 points respectively.
The Rebels led 15-4 after the first quarter and 33-16 at the half. Riverside carried a 53-37 lead into the fourth period.
Riverside 56, Hillcrest 44 First Round Action
Riverside bolted to a 25-4 lead after the first quarter on their way to a 33-10 halftime advantage and coasted to an easy 56-44 victory over the Screamin' Eagles of Hillcrest Friday night in first round action of the NEA Tournament.
The Rebels placed 10 players in the scoring column,led by Glen Graham's 12 points. Jordan Adcock scored 11 while Garrett Weaver added 10. Cody Richardson tallied nine, Tyler Warhurst netted five, Casey Hook, Jacob Saffell, Nathan Eldridge and Brastain James all scored two points apiece while Nick Bagley added one.
Patrick Corder led Hillcrest with 12 points.