Riverside fell behind 17-4 in the first quarter before battling back to pull off an improbable 54-51 victory over Junction City in the first round of the 2A State Tournament Wednesday afternoon at the Mustang Athletic Complex in Monette.
The Rebels fought back in the second period and cut the Dragon lead to six, 26-20, on a Josh Anderson lay-up with 1:15 left before intermission. But Junction City answered with three consecutive points to pull ahead 29-20 before Anderson's lay-in at the 37 second mark cut the Dragon lead to 29-22 at the half.
Cole Winford's lay-up with 5:25 left in the third quarter pulled Riverside to within 29-26 as the Rebels opened the period on a 4-0 run. But the Dragons answered, outscoring the Rebels 11-2 over the next 3:00 to take a 40-28 lead with 2:47 left in the third period. After the two teams traded buckets, Riverside closed the quarter, outscoring the Dragons 6-0, cutting Junction City's lead to 42-36 entering the final frame.
The Dragons made one last charge, cutting the Rebel edge to 50-49 on a basket by Chris Williams with 1:42 left. But Winford scored from the inside on an offensive rebound at the 57 second mark, pushing the Rebel advantage back to 52-49, and Morgan Fletcher's two free throws down the stretch salted the game away for Riverside.
Winford led the Rebels with 19 points while Sain also hit double digits, scoring 12. Anderson, playing with strep throat, added eight. Logan Meurer tallied seven, Fletcher netted six while M.J. Brewer pitched in two points.
(Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)
"There is just no quit in this team," said Rebel Coach Buster Campbell. "They just keep surprising people. I thought the difference in the game was our press in the second half. It really turned it around for us. We didn't play well in the first half. People didn't think we would get to the regional. We got there and all the way to the finals. Now we are in the final eight of the state tournament. That's pretty good. This team just keeps amazing me."
Riverside's storybook run came to an end Thursday night at the hands of Hughes, as the Blue Devils stormed past the Rebels 60-25. Hughes jumped to a 13-0 lead and led 18-5 after the first quarter. The Blue Devils stretched their advantage to 40-11 by halftime and took a 57-20 bulge into the final frame.
Jalen Smith led Hughes with 19 points while Chris Wilson added 16. The Blue Devils finished the night 18-28 from the foul stripe and drilled six three pointers.
Josh Anderson led Riverside with six points while Cole Winford and Alteeno Sain added five points apiece. Logan Meurer scored four, Tyler Rolland and Luke Moyer pitched in two points each while Dylan Wright contributed one point.
The Rebels hit 10-16 free throws and made one three pointer on the night.