Junior Lions capture Bay Invitational Tournament Championship
Manila grabbed an early lead over Riverside and held on the rest of the way to capture the Bay Invitational Tournament Championship with a 39-28 victory in the finals Saturday afternoon at Bay.
The Lions, who remained undefeated on the season, beat the Rebels for the second time in the past week, using a stingy defense. Manila took a 7-3 lead after the opening period before increasing their advantage to 19-10 at the half. The Rebels fought back and pulled within 28-22 after three quarters, but the Lions were clutch at the foul line down the stretch, including a perfect six for six fourth quarter performance by Matthew May to seal the victory.
"We pretty much led the whole game, but Riverside stayed within striking distance," said Lion Head Coach John Deaton. "We were able to hit our free throws down the stretch. Our defense won the game for us and carried us through the tournament. I thought Matthew did an excellent job on Gavin Stone, holding him well below his average. The kids were extremely excited and so was I. We have really played well so far this year and have picked up big wins over some good teams."
Tyler Johnson led the Lions with 12 points while Bradey Woodall scored 10. May and Logan Hamilton had six points apiece while Miles Gifford finished with five.
Braden Overman led the Rebels with 11 points. Dylan Davis tallied six, Stone scored five, Dillon Turner chipped in four while Chris Sain added two.
The Lions advanced to the finals with a heart pounding 45-43 win over Buffalo Island Central Thursday night in the semifinals.
Manila took a 12-10 edge after the first quarter before the Mustangs rallied to grab a 22-19 halftime advantage. BIC led 30-27 entering the fourth period of play.
Trailing by two with under 2:00 left, Miles Gifford drained a three to give the Lions a one point lead. Mustang Trey DePriest answered with a triple of his own to put BIC back up by two, but Manila's Woodall buried another Lion trey to give the Lions the lead for good.
"It was one of the most exciting junior high games I've been involved in," Deaton said. "It was a big win for us."
Woodall topped the Lions with 12 points while May and Hamilton added nine points apiece. Johnson and Gifford scored six points each while Patrick Tanner chipped in three points.
DePriest scored a game high 17 points to lead the Mustangs. Cory Turner tallied 11, Dax Hurst pitched in seven, Chayse Carmichael contributed six while Andrew McFarlin added two points.
Manila kick started the tournament, blasting Trumann 61-30. Johnson led the Lions with 10 points. Woodall scored nine, Gifford netted eight, May and Rodney Laster tallied seven points apiece while Tanner and Joel Burrow added five points apiece. Hamilton contributed four while Dylon Carruth, Neal Benson and Kyle Bell added two points each.