(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
When Riverside center Glen Graham went down with a knee injury, most people thought the Rebels would struggle. Instead, Riverside made it three straight wins with an easy 67-46 victory over arch-rival Buffalo Island Central Tuesday night at Caraway in the latest edition of the "rumble on the river."
"Most people wrote us off when Glen went down with his injury," Riverside Coach Buster Campbell said. "We are a pretty good basketball team and I think we proved it tonight. I thought our defense took them out of their game. We hustled and played hard all night. Usually I can find something bad to say about somebody, but not tonight. Everyone played well."
Riverside rolled to a 16-11 first period lead and blew the game open in the second quarter, outscoring BIC 17-3 to take a 33-14 lead. The Mustangs cut the margin to 33-17 with a three pointer by Shane Barnes going into intermission. Riverside's Garrett Weaver fueled the Rebel second quarter run, scoring 10 points, including a three pointer and an acrobatic reverse lay-up.
BIC began the second half with a run of their own to chop the Riverside lead to 33-22 when Jordan Griggs drilled a three pointer and Matt Honnoll followed with a lay-up. Bradley Tucker answered Honnoll with a 12-foot jumper to push the Rebel lead to 35-22 at the 6:37 mark. Griggs hit his second straight trey to trim the Rebel margin to 37-25 with 6:00 left in the third quarter. Both teams struggled to score in the next 3:00 until Trevor Matheny sank a pair of free throws to slice the Rebel lead to 37-27 at the 3:10 mark.
Riverside closed the quarter with an 8-2 turn to take a 45-29 lead into the final period. During the Rebel run, BIC's Jordan Griggs was ejected for a flagrant foul which stopped play for several minutes as BIC Coach Dion Hargrove argued vehemently in defense of his player. The technical foul, which resulted in a pair of free throws by Weaver, seemed to take the wind out of the Mustang's sails as the third quarter came to a close.
Riverside put the game away in the final frame and built their lead to 25 points on back to back three pointers by Travis Mays, putting the Rebels up 60-35 with 3:42 left in the game. Campbell emptied his bench and the Riverside subs cleaned up the rest of the way, as the Rebels improved to 10-1 overall and perfect 3-0 in league play.
"We really played well tonight," Campbell said. "We rebounded well, kept BIC off the free throw line and guarded the three point shot. Bradley Tucker had a monster game, but like I said, everyone played well tonight. This puts us 3-0 in conference play. It's a big win."
Weaver led Riverside with a game high 24 points while Mays and Cody Richardson pitched in 12 points apiece. Tucker scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Casey Hook scored five points, Bryan Poe netted three while Cody O'Guinn added one. Riverside finished 18-28 from the foul line and nailed nine treys on the night.
BIC was led by Matheny and Griggs who scored 12 points apiece. Lee Birdno netted seven, Shane Barnes scored five, while Matt Taylor, Matt Honnoll, Brandon Atkeison, Steven Greathouse and James Littlefield all added two points apiece. The Mustangs hit 13-17 free throws and drilled five three pointers.
In junior high action, Riverside rolled over BIC 58-38 as three Rebels scored in double figures, led by Luke Moyer's 14 points. Morgan Fletcher and Jake Love had 12 points apiece, Josh Anderson scored seven, Chris Hood had four and M.J. Brewer tallied three points. Jake Emery, Cole Winford and Coby Blagg added two points apiece. Riverside hit 20-38 free throws and made four three pointers.
Jeremy Smith led BIC with 13 points while Dillon Hargrove added eight. Josh McCormick scored five, James Tate netted four, Taylor Morgan and Dominick Marquez added three points apiece while Ben Cole scored two. BIC hit just 2-15 free throws and made four treys.
Riverside led 15-5 after the first period and 26-22 at the half. The Rebels took a 39-30 lead into the fourth period.
The Rebels will return to action Tuesday night in the Williams Baptist College Tournament at Walnut Ridge. BIC will travel to Crowley's Ridge Academy to take on the Falcons Tuesday night in a 2A-3 conference match-up before closing the week at Cross County with another conference tilt.