Riverside defeats Rector to earn Regional berth
By TRENT FLETCHER
In a game that neither team deserved to lose, Riverside sweated out a 70-68 five overtime marathon win over Rector Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the 2-3A District Tournament at Caraway, propelling the Rebels into this week's regional tournament.
Riverside had an opportunity to win the game in the first overtime, but could convert only one of four free throw attempts in the last minute. Rector claimed one of the missed free throws with 20 seconds to go, but lost the ball out of bounds, giving the Rebels the chance for the victory. Riverside played for the final shot, but point guard Jake Love was whistled for a charge with one second remaining, sending the game into the second overtime with the score tied 45-45.
Riverside's Cam Casey, who came off the bench to score 13 points, put in a huge offensive stick-back with 51 seconds left in the second overtime to tie the game again, 52-52. A last second shot by the Cougars went awry, sending the game into overtime number three.
Rector had another opportunity to win the game at the end of the fourth overtime period, but turned the ball over while playing for the last shot with the score tied 62-62, extending the game into its fifth overtime period.
The Rebels grabbed a 66-62 lead to begin the final overtime with baskets by Casey and Sam Elam with 2:45 left. Rector charged back with a pair of buckets by McCarroll and guard Justin Duke, who led all scorers with 29 points, tying the game 66-66 with 1:59 left.
A pair of free throws by Riverside's Tyler Warhurst gave the Rebels a 68-66 lead at the 1:42 mark, but Duke threw in a beautiful scoop shot with 37 seconds to go to knot the score one last time, 68-68.
Rector took one final timeout and set up a potential game winning three pointer by Duke, but Warhurst blocked Duke's attempt at the buzzer, giving the Rebels a berth in the regional tournament while breaking the hearts of the Cougar players and fans.
"I've been in overtime games before, but never in anything like that," said Rector coach Mark Manchester. "I am proud of our kids and their (Riverside's) kids. I am really close to these guys. It hasn't always been easy, but we have fought and scrapped and overcome everything we could. We are really talented, but there are some things we don't do very well and we've had to work really hard to overcome that. I was proud of the way they played and the way they fought. This is two straight years we have been in this spot and couldn't quite get over the hump, but we're getting there. I am really, really proud of them."
"I am really tickled for the kids," said Riverside coach Buster Campbell. "This bunch always plays hard. We tend to make some mistakes, but we came through tonight when we had to. Cam Casey came off the bench and played his best game of the year. I am tickled for my other seniors too. Tyler Warhurst and Cody O'Guinn have really come on at the end of the season. Tyler made a huge play at the end of the game. There was a lot on the line tonight, getting to the regionals, and I'm happy for the team. Nick Bagley doesn't get to play a lot, but he is another senior and I am really happy for him as well. We've done a lot better than most people predicted. We are 17-15, we won the Williams Baptist Tournament, and we're headed to the regional tournament."
Warhurst led the Rebels with 22 points while dishing out six assists. Casey recorded a double-double adding 11 rebounds to his 13 points while Cody O'Guinn also hit double digits with 13 points. Love finished with eight, Elam netted six, Schrader scored five while Josh Anderson added three points. The Rebels struggled from the foul line, hitting just 10-24 attempts, but drilled six three pointers.
Blake McCarroll joined Duke in double figures for the Cougars, scoring 19 points.
Riverside dropped a 58-52 decision to East Poinsett County in the semifinals on Wednesday night.
Cody O'Guinn scored 21 points to pace Riverside while Cam Casey added 11. Tyler Warhurst and Blake Hogan also notched double figures with 10 points apiece.
Riverside hit 11-15 foul shots and made three treys.
EPC got 23 points from Ky Madden. The Warriors, who hit seven three pointers, led 16-12 after the first quarter and 27-22 at the half. EPC carried a 42-40 edge into the final frame.