Town Crier Sports Staff
It looked more like a demolition derby than a high school basketball game when Riverside faced off against Junction City in the quarter-finals of the Class AA State Basketball Tournament Friday night at the Ted Lyon Gymnasium in Danville. But after all the dust had settled, the deeper and more physical Junction City Dragons hammered their way to a 70-52 victory over Riverside, eliminating the Rebels in their bid for their first ever state championship.
Both teams played at a breakneck pace from the opening tipoff, with Riverside taking a 7-5 lead on a three pointer by senior Jordan Adcock midway through the first period. A pair of free throws by Oklahoma State signee James Anderson tied the score at seven all, before Adcock's 10-footer gave the Rebels what would be their last lead of the game, 9-7, at the 4:56 mark.
A Shumeecia Lark free throw and a conventional three point play by Anderson put the Dragons on top 11-9 before Riverside's Glen Graham hit a turn around 10-footer with two Dragons draped all over the big 6'8" center, tying the score for the last time at 11-11 with 3:11 left in the quarter.
Junction City went on a 5-0 run sparked by Daniel Hopson's three pointer and a lay-in by Lark, giving the Dragons a 16-11 lead with 1:48 left in the period. Adcock hit 1-2 free throws with 11 seconds left in the quarter to pull the Rebels to within 16-12 entering the second stanza.
Graham opened the second quarter making 2-4 free throws to close the Dragon lead to two before Lark responded with an offensive stick-back at the 6:22 mark, putting Junction City up 18-14. Garrett Weaver drained a long three pointer to pull the Rebels to within one, but Lark answered with a three pointer of his own to push the Dragon lead back to four. Weaver connected again from beyond the three point arc with 4:34 left in the half to cut the Junction City lead to 23-20, but Lark matched Weaver's trey with one of his own to give the Dragons a 26-20 lead at the 4:19 mark.
Hurbert Flowers' steal and lay-up put the Dragons up 28-20, but Graham answered with a strong inside move to cut the lead to 28-22 with 3:25 left in the half. Lark responded with an inside bucket for the Dragons to push the lead back to eight, 30-22, and following a Graham free throw, Flowers streaked the length of the court for another bucket, giving Junction City a 32-23 lead at the 2:14 mark. Graham connected on both ends of a one and one with 1:54 left in the half to pull the Rebels to within 32-25, but that was as close as Riverside would get the rest of the game, as the Dragons scored the last four points of the half to take a 36-25 lead into the dressing room.
Lark, a 6'5" sophomore, took control in the third quarter, as the Rebels double teamed Junction City's McDonald's All-American Anderson, scoring nine third quarter points on his way to a game high 28 points, as the Dragons built a 51-31 lead with 1:19 left in the third period. Riverside fought back to cut the lead to 51-35 entering the final frame, as Adcock and Graham hit two free throws apiece to close out the quarter.
After Anderson opened the fourth quarter with a lay-in, the Rebels tried to make a game of it as Weaver drilled a long three and Adcock followed with a three point play, the old fashioned way, scoring on a seven-foot jumper while being fouled. The 6'4" senior, playing his final game as a Rebel, nailed the free throw to cut the Dragon lead to 53-41 with 7:05 remaining. Flowers hit a 17-footer to put Junction City up by 14, but Weaver nailed another three pointer as the Rebels closed to 55-44 at the 5:47 mark. But Lark and Anderson scored Junction City's next 10 points to put the game away, putting the Dragons one step closer to the state championship.
The Rebels held Anderson, who came in averaging over 35 points per game, to a season low 18 points, including an 0-10 performance from beyond the three point arc. Flowers also finished in double digits for the Dragons with 11 points. Junction City finished 20-30 from the foul line and hit four three pointers on the night.
Riverside put only three players in the scoring column, led by Graham and Weaver who scored 19 points apiece. Adcock finished with 14 points. The Rebels were 21-28 from the foul line and hit five treys.
"Junction City just had too many players for us, they out-matched us on the boards, and rebounding is something we have been doing really well of late," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "I didn't think they could beat us on the boards like they did. They were real physical with us and held us. They just kept running players in. They were holding and fouling Glen (Graham) all night. I thought he did an excellent job, nevertheless. We really played well defensively, although we did let Lark do what he wanted to. We probably paid too much attention to Anderson, and I will take responsibility for that. We really battled and I am proud of them. We just weren't able to run our offense like we would have liked. This was a tough way to end the season. We just ran into what I think is the best team down here. We didn't do a very good job of positioning ourselves in the bracket, but that was our fault for not taking care of business in the regional tournament. The bottom line is we didn't rebound well enough and didn't execute our offense. We didn't play a real good ball game, and this was a game that we had to play well to win. I am proud of my three seniors. I thought Adcock and Michael Lawrence's play in the second half of the season was what turned us around. Caleb McCluskey always does everything that is asked of him. We will miss them, and they will always be Rebels."
Riverside 72, Augusta 52
Riverside advanced to the quarter-finals of the Class AA State Tournament with a bruising 72-52 win over Augusta on Thursday night.
Six foot eight inch junior Glen Graham powered his way to 21 points while Garrett Weaver and Jordan Adcock pitched in 17 and 14 points respectively as the Rebels raced to an early 26-9 first period lead. Riverside jumped to a 13-4 lead marked by three straight three pointers, two by Adcock and one by Weaver, to stun the Red Devils early.
The Rebels continued their offensive onslaught in the second quarter and took a 40-20 lead into the dressing room at the half.
Weaver opened the third period with a triple and the Rebels built their lead to as many as 26 points by hitting 7-8 free throws in the quarter wrapped around baskets by Weaver and Adcock. The Rebels took a 58-34 lead into the final frame.
Michael Lawrence had nine points for the Rebels, Cody Richardson scored five, while Casey Hook, Tyler Warhurst, and Nathan Eldridge added two points apiece. Riverside finished 13-23 from the foul line and hit five three pointers.
Augusta was led by Akeem Lewis who led all scorers with 27 points. The Red Devils made just 5-14 from the foul line and finished with three treys.
Riverside closes their season with a 31-11 mark.