Rebels advance to State Tournament
When Riverside's leading scorer, All-Conference point guard Jake Love went down with a season ending knee injury during the NEA Tournament, many thought the Rebel's season was over. But Love's teammates pulled together and stunned the naysayers by advancing to the 2A State Tournament with a thrilling 72-66 overtime victory against Cedar Ridge Wednesday night at Marmaduke.
"We've been to a lot of state tournaments down through the years, but I don't know if I have ever been prouder of a bunch, especially after having to overcome the injury to Jake Love," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "The kids just gutted it out tonight. We got down seven late in the first quarter and they just battled their butts off. We don't have that great basketball player but we have a bunch of kids that will just play their butts off. They play hard and play together as a team. I was upset with the way we guarded number 12 (Jordan Steele) all night. We knew about him, oh, but we are getting to go to the state tournament. It was just a great effort by our kids. Alteeno Sain came in and hit some big free throws in the second half. Josh Anderson had another great night rebounding. Tyler Rolland and Logan Meurer hit some big shots. Cole Winford played well. All of them did some really good things. I am just so proud of them."
Riverside started the game with a 6-0 run, but the Timberwolves struck back and closed the quarter by nailing three consecutive treys, two by freshman Spencer Reaves, to take a 16-13 lead. The half ended with the Timberwolves up by two points, 30-28.
The Timberwolves continued their hot shooting from beyond the three point arc in the third quarter, nailing four more treys to take a 52-48 edge into the final frame.
Trailing by five points, 59-54, with 4:04 left, the Rebels battled back to tie the game
59-59 on a driving lay-up by senior Tyler Rolland at the 2:06 mark. Luke Henderson gave the Timberwolves a 60-59 edge on a free throw with 1:48 left, but Riverside sophomore Logan Meurer drilled a three pointer with 1:09 remaining to give the Rebels their first lead, 62-60, since the second quarter.
The Timberwolves played for one last shot, and the left handed Reaves somehow threw in a running right hand bank shot with 15 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
Cedar Ridge led 66-64 with 2:44 left in the overtime period before Alteeno Sain gave the Rebels the lead for good, nailing both ends of a one and one with 36 seconds left. Reaves missed a three pointer for the Timberwolves that would have given Cedar Ridge the lead, and Sain grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 16 seconds to go. The 6'2" sophomore calmly sank both ends of the double bonus to salt the game away.
Josh Anderson led Riverside with 18 points while Cole Winford added 17 more. Alteento Sain and Logan Meurer added 14 points apiece. Tyler Rolland just missed double digits, scoring nine points. Riverside drained five three pointers on the night and hit 17-22 foul shots, including six of six in the final 36 seconds of overtime.
Jordan Steele and Spencer Reaves led Cedar Ridge with 19 points apiece. Dylan McClain scored 15 while Clayton Butler chipped in 12. The Timberwolves drilled 11 three pointers on the night and made 15-22 foul shots.
The Rebels advanced to the finals with a hard fought 50-47 victory over second seeded Rector.
Rector jumped to a 14-11 lead after the first period before Riverside rallied to take a
25-23 edge at the half on a Morgan Fletcher lay-up with 38 seconds left. The Rebels increased their lead to 39-30 by the end of the third period and held on down the stretch in the final frame to pull off the win. The victory avenged a pair of regular season losses to the Cougars.
Tyler Rolland led Riverside with 15 points while Logan Meurer scored 13. Cole Winford tallied nine, Josh Anderson netted six, Alteeno Sain contributed five while Morgan Fletcher added two points.
Kirk Horton led Rector with 15 points while Denver Knight and Tyler Kirkland added 13 and 11 points respectively. Daniel Blackshare scored six while Mitchell Weber added two points.
"This was a hard fought game tonight against a good Rector team," said Campbell. I didn't think we played well offensively, but we played a great defensive game. We also had a great game rebounding, which is something we have been doing very well the past few weeks. I am just very proud of this team. Tyler Rolland had a big game tonight. Logan Meurer hit some big shots when we needed them. Alteeno Sain and Josh Anderson both had excellent games on the boards. Rector was really keying on Cole Winford and I thought we did a good job of getting it to our other players. Morgan Fletcher played really well off the bench. It was just a total team effort."