Sturdivant's big night propels EPC to District title over Rebels
Jammar Sturdivant pumped in a game high 34 points to lead defending state champion East Poinsett County to a 71-61 victory over Riverside in the finals of the 2A-3 District Tournament Friday night at Marmaduke.
The Warriors, who maintained their strangle hold on the district tournament title, bolted to a 19-11 lead after the first quarter. Byron Scales helped EPC overcome an early Rebel lead by nailing back to back treys midway through the opening period, giving the Warriors an 11-10 edge. EPC stretched its advantage to 19-10, thanks to Sturdivant's three point bomb and a conventional three point play by last year's state Most Valuable Player.
Dylan Wright, who led the Rebels with 23 points, kept Riverside within striking distance, scoring nine second quarter points. Three straight baskets by the senior pulled the Rebels to within 29-22 with 3:04 left in the half, but back to back treys by Malik Monk and Sturdivant stretched the Warrior lead to 35-24. The two teams swapped late buckets, giving EPC a 37-26 halftime advantage.
The Warriors threatened to blow the lid off the game when Monk slammed home back to back thunderous dunks midway through the third period, giving EPC a 44-32 lead. But the Rebels charged back and closed the quarter on a pair of long range bombs from Logan Meurer and Caleb Waugh to cut the Warrior lead to 54-46 entering the final frame.
EPC pushed their advantage to 10 points early in the fourth quarter before Waugh buried a trey from 28-feet out to cut the Warriors lead to seven. Alteeno Sain jammed home a rim rattling dunk of his own at the 5:00 mark to slice the EPC lead to 58-53, but that was as close as Riverside could get.
Joining Wright in double digits for the Rebels was Meurer, who scored 13 points while Waugh and Sain added 11 and 10 points respectively. Gavin Stone and Brock Adams added two points apiece. Riverside finished nine of 11 from the foul line and drained six three pointers.
Monk and Byron Scales joined Sturdivant in double figures for the Warriors, scoring 19 and 11 points respectively. EPC hit 15-21 free throws and drilled 10 three pointers on the night.
"We got behind early but we fought back and got it down to five in the fourth quarter, but we just couldn't get a couple of shots to fall late," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "I thought we really made EPC battle tonight. They really have a couple of nice players in Sturdivant and Monk. Their other kids are good athletes as well. They don't turn the ball over. Someone is just going to have to beat them or they will claim their third straight state title. I didn't think we rebounded well in the second half, but we really gave them a battle and I am very proud of the kids."
Vs. Marked Tree
Riverside advanced to the finals with a 108-85 shellacking of Marked Tree in Thursday night's semifinal action. The Rebels jumped to a 32-12 lead after the first quarter and led 54-31 at the half. Riverside took a 73-51 advantage into the final frame.
Logan Meurer paced the Rebels with 29 points, including a perfect 13-13 performance from the foul line. Caleb Waugh pumped in 28 more, including 14 in the final quarter. Dylan Wright poured in 22 points, Gavin Stone scored 14 while Alteeno Sain chipped in 11. Brock Adams added four points to round out the Rebel offensive onslaught. Riverside finished 30-34 from the foul line and made four three pointers.
Allen Buchanan led the Indians with a game high 33 points, including 27 in the second half. Darius Ivy added 23 more.
Riverside placed three players on the all-conference team, including Sain, Meurer and Wright.
The Rebels will begin regional tournament play as the number two seed Thursday afternoon against Tuckerman at Sloan Hendrix. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.