Town Crier Sports Staff
Riverside must have felt a bit slighted, heading into last week's 2A-3 District Tournament. The host Rebels were not even mentioned in one of the local newspapers' previews of the tournament, listing Buffalo Island Central and Earle as the two favorites. But when the dust had settled, Riverside had claimed their third tournament title of the year, winning four games in five nights, including Friday night's 57-50 championship win over Crowley's Ridge Academy at Caraway.
The Rebels fell behind the Falcons 15-12 after the first quarter and faced a 22-21 deficit heading into the dressing room at the half. The Falcons built a five point lead in the opening period behind the shooting of Alan Williams and Steven Ramsey, and hung onto their advantage thanks to a 3-8 free throw performance by the Rebels in the second period.
Whatever Riverside Coach Buster Campbell said to his troups at the half worked, as the Rebels came out with fire in their eyes to open the third quarter, outscoring CRA 9-0 to take a 30-22 lead. Six foot eight inch junior Glen Graham started the quarter with a five foot hook shot, followed by an inside bucket from senior Jordan Adcock. Graham worked his way inside for two more before Garrett Weaver capped off the 9-0 run with a three pointer from the left corner.
CRA fought back and pulled to within 34-30 to close out the quarter, but the Rebels began the final period with a 6-0 spurt to grab a 40-30 lead. The Falcon's Williams broke the Riverside run with a three pointer at the 5:17 mark, but Graham answered with a three point play of his own to push the Rebel margin back to 10 points, 43-33, with 4:49 left in the game. Riverside built their lead to 15 points, 54-39, with 1:12 remaining before the Falcons ripped off three straight treys, but it was too little too late, as the Rebels claimed the District Title and a number one seed in the upcoming regional tournament at Rector.
"Our defense and our rebounding has gotten so much better lately," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell, whose team improved to 29-9 on the season. "That is what has really turned us around. I am super proud of this team. There was a lot expected of this bunch when the season started and they have had a lot of pressure on them all year. We didn't handle it well early but maybe we have it straightened out now, and this is the time of year when you want to be playing well. We have beaten some good ball clubs this week. This is a tough district. Cross County and Bay aren't even going to the regionals, and both teams are very capable of making a run had they gotten there. Michael Lawrence has been a monster on the boards this week. Jordan Adcock has become a complete ball player for us. He is playing very good defense and is rebounding well. Adcock and Garrett Weaver have been shooting well and Cody (Richardson) has been taking it to the hole. Glen (Graham) had a great night tonight. Casey Hook and Caleb McCluskey have been playing well off the bench. It's just been a total team effort."
"We just all came together this week and really wanted it," said Glen Graham.
"It's great, we really wanted to go out with a bang," said senior Jordan Adcock. "We really wanted to win this thing in front of our fans. If we can play our game in the regionals, the sky is the limit. There is no telling how far we can go."
"Riverside is just tough to beat," said CRA Coach Al Williams. "Glen Graham is hard to cover and they have such good outside shooters that it makes it difficult to rotate your defense. I thought Riverside came out with more intensity in the second half. But I was very proud of our team. We had a good week and we are looking forward to the regional tournament."
Riverside was led by Graham who scored a game high 23 points. Adcock recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Weaver scored nine points, had five assists and came away with five steals. Michael Lawrence netted eight points while Cody Richardson added seven points and handed out five assists. Riverside was 16-26 from the foul line and hit three treys.
Alan Williams led all scorers for CRA with 26 points, including six treys. The Falcons hit 5-7 from the foul line and finished with seven treys.
The Rebels began the week with a 57-38 win over Rector. Graham led Riverside with 18 points while Adcock finished with 14. Richardson scored 11, Weaver netted eight, Lawrence tallied four while Casey Hook added two. Jackie Graham led Rector with 26 points, including five three pointers.
The Rebels picked up a 68-51 quarterfinal win over Bay on Tuesday night behind Garrett Weaver's 30 point performance. Richardson had 11 points while Lawrence added 10 more. Adcock tallied nine, while Graham and Hook added four points apiece. Riverside grabbed an 18-9 first period lead and held a 29-22 halftime advantage. The Rebels carried a 36-29 lead into the final frame. Tyrone Harris led Bay with 15 points.
Riverside came away with a 62-50 win in Thursday night's semi-final contest over regular season champion Earle. Glen Graham led the Rebels with 21 points and eight rebounds while Garrett Weaver scored 18 points and Jordan Adcock added 14 points and six rebounds. Cody Richardson netted nine points and seven rebounds while Michael Lawrence finished with 12 rebounds on the night. Riverside hit 12-18 free throw and made six three pointers. Ronnie Davis led Earle with 22 points, including six treys.
The two teams battled to a 12-12 first period tie before Riverside pulled ahead 30-22 at the half. Riverside took a 47-36 lead into the final frame.
Riverside will open regional tournament action as a number one seed and will face fourth seeded Tuckerman Wednesday night at 8:30 at Rector.