Warhurst's last second shot lifts Rebels past Mustangs
Some people thought when former Buffalo Island Central head coach Bill Taylor left for Springdale that the BIC-Riverside rivalry might lose some of its fire, but Tuesday night's thriller showed that the two old foes still own one of the state's top rivalries as Riverside pulled out an electrifying 42-41 victory over the Mustangs at Caraway.
Trailing 41-40 in the waning seconds, Riverside senior Tyler Warhurst drilled the biggest shot of his career from three point land, igniting the Rebel faithful and giving Riverside bragging rights at least until the Jan. 16 rematch at the Mustang Athletic Complex.
The two teams battled tooth and nail from the opening tip until Warhurst's heroics saved the day for Riverside, who evened their record at 5-5 on the year. The victory got the Rebels off to a 1-0 start in 2A-3 conference play.
Riverside took a 32-30 lead into the final quarter, but watched BIC fight back to pull ahead 33-32 on a Ben Cole basket at the 7:17 mark of the final period. The two teams battled back and forth the rest of the quarter until BIC's Blake Wheeler hit both ends of a double bonus, giving the Mustangs a 40-37 lead.
Riverside's Blake Hogan, who led the Rebels with 20 points, failed on two free throw attempts with 20 seconds remaining in the game, but teammate Josh Anderson grabbed Hogan's second miss and was fouled, sending the sophomore forward to the foul stripe with 18 seconds left. Anderson banged home both free throws to pull the Rebels to within 40-39.
Riverside was forced to foul on BIC's next possession, sending Mustang Kam Ashabranner to the line with 12 seconds left. Ashabranner made 1-2 attempts to leave BIC with a 41-39 lead, setting up Warhurst's last second game winner.
Riverside worked the ball around the perimeter where Warhurst launched a 20-footer from the right wing that swished the net with four seconds remaining, putting the Rebels ahead 42-41.
BIC called timeout to set up one last attempt to pull off a miracle, but Ashabranner's running 40-footer missed the mark, setting off the Rebel celebration.
Riverside's full court press gave BIC problems in the early going, while Hogan dominated the inside, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the opening period to give the Rebels a 16-9 lead heading into the second quarter.
Anderson nailed two free throws with 2:55 left in the first half to give Riverside their biggest lead of the night, 26-17, but Ashabranner completed a three point play with 2:20 left to pull the Mustangs to within 26-20 at the half.
"It came down to a four minute game and we just couldn't make our free throws when we needed to," said Mustang coach Dion Hargrove. "We missed a couple of front ends of one and ones that really hurt and then it came down to the last few seconds and Warhurst threw in a great shot. I thought it was a tough shot and I thought we defended it well. You just have to tip your cap to him and say nice shot. We tried to set up something at the end of the game but we just couldn't get in sync. But I thought the difference in the ball game was our missed opportunities at the foul line."
"Our kids really work hard and are going to be competitive," said Rebel coach Buster Campbell. "We just need to learn how to put teams away. We have to quit making some of the mistakes we make. We had control of the game until late in the third quarter and we just made some silly mistakes and let them back in. Tyler (Warhurst) had a horrible second half, but then he comes back and makes the big shot. My hat is off to him. We are going to work hard and I thought we played good defense tonight. Blake Hogan had an excellent first half, but then we just forgot him. Our guards have to do a better job of getting the ball inside. This was a big conference win."
Hogan, who led Riverside in scoring, also pulled down 13 rebounds. Warhurst scored 11 points, Anderson netted seven, Jake Love tallied three while Cody O'Guinn added one. Riverside struggled from the foul line, hitting just 18-37 attempts while making two treys.
Wheeler led all scorers, pumping in 22 points for BIC. Ashabranner had 11 points while Cole added eight. The Mustangs hit 13-22 from the foul stripe and made four treys.
BIC took the junior high contest 52-37 behind Dillon Hargrove and Daniel Davis who scored 16 and 14 points respectively. Hargrove also drilled four three pointers on the night. James Tate and Josh McCormick tallied six points apiece, Wes Colbert scored four while Mark Stone and Logan Dewitt added three points each. The Mustangs hit just 2-8 foul shots but drained eight three pointers on the night.
Cole Winford led all scorers with 18 points for Riverside. Mitchell Staggs and Logan Meurer netted five points apiece, Morgan Fletcher tallied four while Alteeno Sain and Cody Willliams pitched in two points apiece. The Rebels hit 10-19 foul shots and made four three pointers.