Town Crier Sports Staff
Riverside went into Friday night's 2A-3 conference finale at Bay needing a win to gain a share of the league championship along with Rector and Buffalo Island Central. But the Lady Yellowjackets, who have been playing their best basketball in the second half of the season, spoiled Riverside's championship hopes, pulling off a 66-60 upset on senior night.
Bay used the outside shooting of Mehgon Mink and the inside punch of freshman Lacy Staten to keep the Lady Rebels at bay. Mink led Bay with 21 points while Staten pumped in 18 more. Former Rebel Natasha Coffey consistently sliced through the Riverside press and added 11 points to help Bay pull off the win.
Bay took a quick 6-1 lead and led 14-9 before the Lady Rebels scored the last four points of the first quarter to pull within 14-13 heading into the second period. The two teams battled on even terms throughout most of the second quarter before Riverside's Kailey Holt tied the score 28-28 with 1:08 left in the half, but a pair of Mink free throws at the 53 second mark gave the Lady Yellowjackets a 30-28 halftime advantage.
Bay came out of the gates in the third quarter and scored the first eight points to take a 38-28 lead behind a Staten bucket, a three point play by Mink and a three pointer from Sydney Leisure. The Lady 'Jackets opened up an 11 point lead, 43-32, when Mink drilled another trey before Riverside rallied to pull within 48-42 at the end of the third quarter behind the inside play of Marisa Johnson and Brianna Driver.
Johnson started the fourth quarter with an inside bucket to pull the Lady Rebels to within 48-44, but Bay maintained a two possession lead until Johnson nailed a pair of free throws with 4:22 left to pull Riverside to within 56-53. The two teams traded buckets before Bay went back up 61-55 on a Staten free throw and an offensive stick-back by Bridgett Barnes at the 2:46 mark.
Riverside had ample opportunity to get even or pull ahead, but failed miserably from the free throw line down the stretch, hitting just 6-17 fourth quarter free throws while finishing a dismal 12-28 for the night.
Trailing 62-56 with 1:31 left, Riverside made one last charge, getting back to back buckets from Johnson and Morgan Emery to close to within 62-60 with 58 seconds left, but the Lady Yellowjackets hit 4-6 free throws in the last 44 seconds while Riverside went cold from the field.
Bay (16-13, 11-5) hit 17-31 from the charity stripe while hitting five three pointers on the night.
Riverside (24-7, 13-3) was led by Johnson with 21 points while Driver scored 16 and Holt finished with 10. Emery scored six points, Katey Campbell netted four, while Kassie Douglas and Kelsey Turner scored two and one points respectively. The Lady Rebels failed to make a three pointer on the night.
The Lady Rebels rolled over Marked Tree 63-32 on Tuesday night.
In junior high action, Riverside pulled off a pair of victories, knocking off Marked Tree 15-14 Tuesday night before coming back to take a 34-21 win over Bay Friday night.
Michelle Cobb scored 10 points to lead the Lady Rebels past Marked Tree. Magan Wells scored four points while Taylor Boness added one. Rachel Young led Marked Tree with 12 points.
Riverside led 5-2 after the first quarter before Marked Tree took an 8-5 lead at the half. The Lady Indians took a 12-10 lead into the final frame before Riverside rallied for the win.
Michelle Cobb paced the Lady Rebels past Bay, scoring 14 points. Riverside won despite hitting just 10-24 free throws. The Lady Rebels hit two three pointers. Kyley Campbell scored four points, Taylor Boness and Ashley Calvert netted three points each, Brittany Douglas, Taylor Hill, Beth Anne Snyder and Courtney Thomas scored two points apiece while Kendra Staggs and Magan Wells added one point each.
The two teams were tied 5-5 after the first quarter before Riverside outscored Bay 16-2 in the second period to take a 21-7 halftime lead. The Lady Rebels led 25-15 after three quarters.
Riverside will return to action Thursday night when they travel to Gosnell to face the Lady Pirates in senior girls action.
The Junior Lady Rebels will open District Tournament play Tuesday night at 7:30 at Monette.