Lady Rebels reach State quarter-finals with 4th quarter rally
Riverside's determination to win a state tournament game finally paid off when the Lady Rebels put together a fourth quarter rally to come from behind and defeat Mount Ida 56-50 in Tuesday afternoon's first round action of the Class 2A State Tournament at Melbourne.
Riverside had experienced bitter disappointment the last two years in state tournament action, but made the big plays and shots this year, putting the Lady Rebels over the hump and into the quarter-finals.
Mount Ida began the fourth quarter leading 38-35, but Riverside quickly pulled within one on a Katey Campbell bucket at the 7:36 mark. The Lady Lions built their lead back up to 46-41 with a three point play by senior center Sarah Lanz with 4:26 left in the game.
Campbell hit a clutch three pointer out of the left corner to cut the Lady Lion lead to two points, 46-44, and after a driving lay-up by Mt. Ida's Breanne Mullins, the Lady Rebels went on a 10-0 run.
Riverside's winning rally started with an offensive stick-back by Driver and a Campbell free throw to slice the deficit to one, 48-47, and when Campbell hit Driver with a pinpoint pass under the goal for an easy bucket at the 1:26 mark, the Rebels took the lead, 49-48.
Riverside iced the game, hitting seven of their last nine free throw attempts and the celebration began.
The two teams battled on even terms throughout the first quarter, with Riverside holding a 13-12 lead after the break. The score remained close during the second period and the half ended with Riverside holding a 28-27 advantage.
"The girls played super hard and never gave up," said Riverside coach Carrie Redman. "They deserved to win. I told them to not give up after we got behind in the third quarter and to stop playing like they were behind. I thought our defense in the second half was the turning point of the game. We forced Mount Ida to take shots that they didn't like. Katey (Campbell) hit a huge three pointer for us, which I thought was another turning point, and we made our free throws when we had to. I am very proud of them."
"We've worked so hard to get here," said Morgan Emery. "We have a great group of seniors. I'm very happy."
"I am very excited and super pumped that we are going to the second round," said Driver. "The team really worked hard. We had a lot of players step up."
"It feels awesome," said Campbell. "We finally got past that jinx that we had. We really played well the fourth quarter. We are all really excited."
Campbell led the Lady Rebels with 19 points and finished 7-9 from the foul line. Driver scored 14 while grabbing seven boards and was a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe. Michelle Cobb also hit double digits, scoring 10 points. Holly Dudley scored six points and grabbed six rebounds, all in the second quarter, while Kailey Holt tallied four points and Emery contributed three. Riverside hit 22-30 foul shots and went 4-13 from the three point line.
Mount Ida was led by Mullins, who scored 13 points while Lanz finished with 11. The Lady Lions had 25 rebounds on the night and hit 8-11 from the foul stripe. Mount Ida hit 21-41 from the two point range but was shut out from beyond the arc, going 0-8.