Lady Colts rally past Riverside 58-45 in NEA semifinals
Jaressa Banks scored 11 of her game high 29 points in the decisive fourth quarter of the Monday, Dec. 29, Rivercrest-Riverside semi-final battle to lead the Lady Colts to a 58-45 come from behind victory over the Lady Rebels in the 62nd annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament in Jonesboro.
Rivercrest took a 33-32 lead into the final frame and Banks quickly upped the margin to 36-32 with a three point play at the 6:57 mark. The Lady Colts increased their lead to
40-32 before Riverside broke the 7-0 Colt run with a pair of free throws from Brianna Driver at the 5:09 mark, cutting the lead to 40-34.
Banks answered with a three pointer from the left corner, giving Rivercrest a nine point lead. The Lady Rebels responded with a Morgan Emery free throw, followed by Katey Campbell's offensive stick-back and free throw which completed a three point play that pulled Riverside to within 43-38 with 4:06 left in the game.
Rivercrest pushed their lead back to nine with back to back buckets by Miner and 5'9" sophomore Aleta Cannon, giving the Lady Colts a 47-38 advantage with just 3:19 remaining. Emery drilled a 15-footer, cutting the Colt lead to 47-40 with 2:55 left, but that was as close as the Lady Rebels would get, as Banks drove the lane for a bucket and seconds later followed with a pair of free throws for a 53-42 lead at the 48 second mark.
"Turnovers and offensive rebounds really hurt us, and I thought that was the difference in the game," said Riverside coach Carrie Redman. "We just didn't take care of the little things. We failed to cover Banks, but I applaud her for having such a great game. I was really proud of how hard our kids played in the tournament. We played with heart and desire. We had a huge accomplishment, getting three players on the all-tournament team. We can fix the little things we're doing wrong, and I think we are getting better in each and every game, and that's what we are looking at the rest of the season."
Rivercrest started the game with a 4-0 run, but the Lady Rebels quickly responded, taking a 7-4 lead when Holly Dudley dropped in a three pointer with 4:15 left in the quarter. Junior guard Michelle Cobb drained another three pointer, giving Riverside a 10-5 advantage before Campbell closed the quarter with back to back buckets as the Rebels took a 14-6 lead after the opening stanza.
Riverside threatened to break the game open, building a 23-13 lead with 4:29 to go before halftime, but the Lady Colts closed the half with a 9-3 run as Banks warmed up in the second period, pumping in 14 of her team's 16 points and cutting the Rebel lead to 26-22 at intermission.
Riverside went cold in the third period, scoring just six points while being held to only one basket by the tenacious Rivercrest defense. The Lady Colts began the quarter with a pair of baskets from Miner and Banks to tie the game 26-26 at the 5:23 mark. Riverside answered when Emery drove the length of the floor for a lay-in to put the Lady Rebels back up 28-26. Banks responded with a 12-footer to tie the game, and when Miner sank 1-2 free throws with 57 seconds left in the period, the Colts took the lead for good, 33-32.
Banks was the only Lady Colt in double figures, while Riverside put two players in double digits, led by Campbell's 16 point performance while Driver chipped in 11. Dudley finished with seven points, Emery netted five while Cobb and Kyley Campbell added three points apiece. Riverside struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 12-22 attempts, while Rivercrest also had problems at the line, making just 9-17. Both teams drained three treys apiece.
Katey Campbell, Brianna Driver and Michelle Cobb garnered NEA-Tournament team honors for Riverside.
The Lady Rebels will return to action Monday when they host East Poinsett County in a 2A-3 conference game at Caraway. Riverside will close the week with another conference game against the Rector Lady Cougars Thursday night at Lake City.