Town Crier Sports Staff
Riverside watched their dream of a Northeast Arkansas Invitational Championship go by the wayside when the Hillcrest Lady Screamin' Eagles rallied from a 10 point halftime deficit to upset the second seeded Lady Rebels 69-63 Tuesday afternoon at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
Third seeded Hillcrest led throughout the first period behind the inside-outside duo of Jessica Broadway and Breanna Doyle, and took a 21-20 lead into the second stanza.
Riverside grabbed their first lead of the game when Kailey Holt hit a pair of free throws to start the second quarter. The two teams battled back and forth, swapping one point leads throughout much of the period before the Lady Rebels broke a 37-37 tie at the 1:59 mark with a Katey Campbell free throw. From there, Riverside's Kelsey Turner took over the game, hitting three consecutive treys, giving her five for the quarter, to propel the Lady Rebels to a 48-38 halftime advantage.
Hillcrest, however, came out of the dressing room and quickly erased most of the Riverside lead. The Screamin' Eagles started their comeback with a pair of back to back treys from 5'8" junior Whitney Jones, an inside bucket from Broadway, and a three point play by Amber Glenn, pulling Hillcrest to within 50-49 with 4:33 left in the third period.
Riverside stretched their lead back to five, 56-51, before Hillcrest scored the last four points of the quarter to cut the Lady Rebel lead to 56-55 entering the final period.
Hillcrest gained their first lead since the opening quarter with a bucket from Doyle, who led all scorers with 23 points. Riverside answered with a 10-foot jumper from the Lady Rebel's lone senior, Marisa Johnson, and Turner's sixth three pointer of the game, in what would be Riverside's last basket, putting the Lady Rebels up 61-57 with 6:26 left to play.
After a Brianna Driver free throw gave Riverside a five point lead, Doyle responded with back to back 15-foot jumpers to cut the Rebel lead to one. Riverside scored their last point of the game with 3:32 remaining when Katey Campbell connected on one of two free throws to put the Rebels up 63-61.
Hillcrest scored the game's last eight points, four by Doyle and two each by Glenn and Broadway, as the Lady Rebels went ice cold from the field, putting the game away.
Broadway scored 17 points while Glenn added 12 to join Doyle in double figures for the Screamin' Eagles, who will play Buffalo Island Central for the championship Wednesday night.
Hillcrest finished the night 18-22 from the charity stripe, including a red hot 17-20 performance in the first half.
Riverside was led by Turner, who finished with 18 points. Kailey Holt was the only other Lady Rebel in double figures with 11. Johnson and Morgan Emery scored nine points each while Driver netted eight. Kassie Douglas tallied six points while Katey Campbell added two. Riverside hit just 18-32 free throw attempts and finished with seven three pointers.
"We gave it away, I felt like, and that is not taking anything away from Hillcrest," Riverside Coach Greg Rainwater said. "They have a good team and Doyle is as good a player as we will see probably. But when you have a 10 point lead coming out of the locker room and it's gone after two minutes because you aren't ready to play--that's a collapse. When you shoot 50 percent from the free throw line and miss shot after shot from inside the lane, you are going to get beat."
"I challenged my team at halftime and they came back and played hard," Hillcrest Coach Andy Durham said. "I was very proud of how they played in the second half. Breanna Doyle had a good fourth quarter. She is definitely our go-to player. It means a lot for us to get into the finals of the NEA. I think this is the first girl's team from the Strawberry, Lynn, Powkeepsie, River Valley area to ever be in the championship game. It feels good. The girls deserve it."
Riverside 58, Maynard 52
In a game of runs, Riverside came out on top with a hard fought 58-52 victory over Maynard in the quarter-finals of the 60th annual NEA Tournament Saturday afternoon.
Riverside jumped to an early 12-4 lead before Maynard went on a 13-0 run to take a 17-12 edge midway through the second quarter. Riverside bounced back, outscoring Maynard 16-6, to close out the quarter and take a 28-23 lead into the dressing room at halftime.
Maynard came storming out of the gates in the third period, outscoring Riverside 12-0, to take a 35-28 lead at the 4:11 mark. The Lady Rebels fought back and regained the lead 41-40 on a Kelsey Turner three pointer with 19 seconds remaining in the period. But the Lady Tigers scored the quarter's last three points to take a 43-41 edge into the final frame.
The score remained tight throughout most of the final period until Riverside took the lead for good, 51-50, on a short jumper by Katey Campbell at the 3:04 mark. Marisa Johnson came up with a steal and took the ball coast to coast, pushing the Lady Rebel lead to 53-50, and then added a pair of free throws seconds later to put Riverside in control, 55-50, with 2:21 left in the game.
Maynard would pull within three on a Jennifer Bray basket with 1:19 left, but the Lady Rebels iced the game when Johnson converted 1-2 from the charity stripe before Kailey Holt scored from the inside to set the final margin.
Riverside was led by Katey Campbell who scored 16 points while grabbing nine rebounds. Brianna Driver scored 13 points and pulled down eight boards while Johnson finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Morgan Emery tallied eight points, Kassie Douglas scored four points and grabbed seven boards while Turner finished with three points and four assists. Kailey Holt added three points. Riverside struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 17-33 attempts. The Lady Rebels finished with three treys.
Maynard was led by Ashley Kerley who scored a game high 26 points. The Lady Tigers hit 16-25 from the foul line.
Riverside 71, McCrory 36
Riverside opened NEA Tournament play with a resounding 71-36 win over McCrory Friday afternoon.
Riverside jumped to an 20-4 lead after the first period and took a 42-19 advantage into halftime. The Lady Rebels led 60-30 after three quarters.
Brianna Driver led Riverside with 16 points while Kelsey Turner had 15, including five three pointers. Morgan Emery also hit double figures with 12 points. Katey Campbell scored nine, Marisa Johnson and Katlin Brewer tallied six points apiece, Holly Dudley netted three, while Kailey Holt and Anne Marie Johnson contributed two points each. Riverside finished 12-18 from the foul line and ripped nine three pointers on the day.
Samantha Coley led McCrory with 16 points.