(Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)
Monk, who connected on 13-15 free throws, led the Warriors to its fourth consecutive win over the Rebels this season. Riverside (28-6) lost only two other games the rest of the year.
"It was too much Monk for the fourth time," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "The truth is, he's not the only player they've got, so it's hard to just concentrate on him. The bottom line is we turned the ball over too much, which allowed them too many easy baskets. But I am very proud of this group. They finished with a 28-6 record and four of those losses came against EPC. EPC is the only team we have played this year that we didn't beat. They have a great team, but we have some good players too."
"Riverside always plays us hard," said EPC Coach Josh Hill. "Buster's group gives it all they've got and they are a very good team. I've been coaching 11 years and this is the best group I've had. Malik Monk is just someone you have to see as an eighth grader to believe what he can do with the basketball. I am very proud of this team. We've had a great year, going 21-2 and winning the district tournament caps it off."
EPC held a 15-12 lead after the first quarter before Riverside came back to the tie the game 17-17 on a pair of free throws by Brandon Sain. The Warriors closed out the second quarter with an 11-2 run to take a 28-19 halftime lead.
EPC built its lead to 12 points, 40-28, midway through the third quarter on a three point play by Monk. The Rebels fought back to pull to within 44-35 entering the fourth period.
Three free throws by Rebel seventh grader Gavin Stone early in the fourth quarter cut the EPC lead to 46-40, but a three point play by Monk pushed the Warrior lead back to 49-40 with 3:53 remaining in the game. Riverside made one last charge, pulling to within 49-43, but a blocked shot by EPC's Aaron Scales against Sain, when the Rebels had a chance to cut the Warrior lead to four points, snuffed out the Rebels last chance as Monk connected on seven of eight foul shots down the stretch to seal the victory.
T.J. Young joined Monk in double figures for the Warriors, scoring 12 points. Dez Barnes tallied six, Clay Malone netted five, Scales scored three while Zach Maddox added two points.
Riverside was led by Sain's 17 points while Gavin Stone added 12. Kollin Stone scored eight while Victor Cerda and Devon Austin added six points apiece.
Riverside vs. Marmaduke
Riverside advanced to the finals with a 54-25 victory over Marmaduke in Thursday night's semifinals. Levi Reed led the Rebels with 17 points while Devon Austin scored 14. Brandon Sain and Kollin Stone scored six points apiece, Gunner Tyler netted five while Victor Cerda, Gavin Stone and Brett Snyder pitched in two points each.
Eddie Page led the Greyhounds with nine points.
The Rebels began the tournament, outscoring Maynard 68-47 Monday night. Gavin Stone drilled five three pointers on his way to a 20 point performance to lead the Rebels. Brandon Sain scored 14 while Kollin Stone added 12. Devon Austin tallied seven, Luke Baker netted five, Hunter Wilkinson scored three while Jake Raby, Gunner Tyler and Levi Reed added two points apiece. Blake Hall chipped in one point to round out the Riverside offensive attack.
Dakota Loggins led Maynard with 16 points.