Rebels capture WBC Championship
Riverside completed an improbable run through the Williams Baptist College Tournament, capturing the championship with a 53-43 victory over number three seeded and previously undefeated Corning Saturday night at Walnut Ridge.
The Rebels entered the tournament as the number nine seed, and after defeating Viola
54-45 in last Saturday' first round, knocked off top seeded Batesville Southside 73-65 in the quarterfinals. Riverside advanced to the title game with a hard fought 63-59 win over fourth seeded Pocahontas Friday night in the semi-finals.
Jake Love's 19 point performance catapulted the Rebels past the Bobcats in Saturday night's title bout. Love, who suffered a black eye for his efforts, scored 11 points in the final quarter, including an 8-10 performance from the foul line in the final 1:34 to secure the win.
"I've been in this a long time, so I'd hate to say this was the sweetest win ever, but it has to rank among the top," said elated Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "We beat four teams that were seeded higher than us. I am tickled to death. These kids deserved this. They worked their butts off all week. Every kid came through and gave us some good minutes. It was just a great week for us."
The victory elevated the Rebels to 9-5 on the season and gave Campbell his 700th career victory.
The Rebels took a 12-9 lead after the first period, thanks to a three pointer from senior forward Cody O'Guinn and Jake Love's driving lay-up after a steal at the 53 second mark.
Corning fought back in the second quarter and tied the score on a thunderous dunk by six foot four senior Kyle Harvey. Zack Brown's driving lay-up with 4:26 left in the half put the Bobcats on top for the first time in the second quarter, 18-17, but the Rebels came right back when senior guard Tyler Warhurst drilled his second straight three pointer to push the Riverside lead back to four, 21-17.
The Rebels clung to their four point lead until Harvey's offensive stick-back and a three pointer from Justin Wilder cut the lead to 23-22. Warhurst connected on one of two free throws before Brown tied the score with an inside bucket to send the two teams into halftime tied at 24-24.
Riverside took a 38-33 lead after the third period thanks to four straight three point bombs, including three in a row by O'Guinn, who finished the night with 12 points. Brown's fade away jumper with 4:10 left in the game pulled Corning to within 40-37, but that was as close as the Bobcats would get. Love's three pointer with 3:48 left pushed the Rebel lead to six, and Riverside put the game away at the foul line, hitting 10-15 free throws down the stretch.
"We missed too many easy chip shots and we didn't cover the three very well," said Corning Coach Alan Williams. "I thought that was the difference in the game. We had a size advantage but I thought Riverside was more physical than we were tonight. We just let them push us around all night. They were smaller but they were more physical and I thought it was the difference."
Warhurst joined Love and O'Guinn in double figures for the Rebels with 10 points. Blake Hogan scored five points, Josh Anderson tallied four while Sam Elam added three. The Rebels drilled nine three pointers on the night and finished 12-22 from the foul stripe.
Corning, who fell to 8-1 on the season, was led by Harvey, who finished with 17 points while Brown added 16 more. The Bobcats hit two three pointers and connected on 3-5 free throws.
O'Guinn poured in 17 points while Love and Hogan added 14 apiece to lead the Rebels past Pocahontas in Friday night's semi-final battle. O'Guinn came away with a steal in the latter stages of the third period and fed Love for a buzzer beater, giving the Rebels a 43-41 lead heading into the final frame. Riverside never trailed again, leading by as many as 13 points, 57-44, before the Redskins put on one last rally that fell just short.
Anderson had nine points, Warhurst scored six, Elam netted two while Cam Casey pitched in one point to round out the Rebel attack. Riverside finished 19-31 from the free throw line and hit four treys on the evening. The Rebels led 17-12 after the first period and held a 31-30 edge at halftime.
Matt Sullivan led Pocahontas with a game high 19 points while Chris Bennett fired in 17 more. The Redskins hit 16-23 foul shots and made five three pointers.
Hogan pumped in a team high 20 points in Riverside's victory over top-seeded Batesville Southside on Monday night. O'Guinn scored 16 points and dished out six assists, while Anderson chipped in with 15 more. Warhurst tallied eight while Love and Casey added seven points apiece. Riverside hit 13-20 foul shots and made six treys on the night. The Rebels led 19-17 after the first period, 36-30 at the half, and 49-47 heading into the final quarter.
Garrett Batterton led all scorers with 28 points while Mikey Fulcher scored 25 more for Southside, who hit 6-9 free throws and drilled seven treys on the night.
Riverside outscored Viola 19-10 in the final quarter to pull out a 54-45 win in the tournament opener for the Rebels. Love led all scorers with 21 points while O'Guinn and Warhurst added 13 and 12 points respectively. Hogan had six while Nick Bagley chipped in two. The Rebels struggled from the foul line, hitting just 6-18 foul shots, but made up for it from beyond the three point arc, drilling eight treys.
Riverside will return to action in this week's Gerald Jennings Invitational Tournament at Manila. The fifth seeded Rebels will take on fourth seeded and defending champion Valley View in a 7:30 clash Wednesday night. The Rebels will be seeking a measure of revenge, having lost in last year's title game to the Blazers.