Rector ends Riverside's three year State Tournament run
Rector built a 24 point lead before holding off a frantic fourth quarter Riverside rally and went on to defeat the Rebels 72-63 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the 2A-3 District Tournament at the Mustang Athletic Complex in Monette.
The loss not only ended Riverside's season, but put an end to the Rebels' three year state tournament run. "You can't win a ball game when you don't play defense, and I don't think we ever stopped them in the first quarter," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "Our plan was not to let Weber (Reed) shoot the ball but he scored their first 10 points and we let Scott (Alec) drive to the basket. We didn't want to put them on the foul line and they made 36 free throws. We didn't run our offenses. We didn't do what we were supposed to do tonight. I can say one good thing about the game, our kids hustled and scrapped until the game was over. But Rector just beat us in all phases of the game and deserved to win."
The fifth seeded Cougars got off to a quick start, thanks to Weber, who scored 10 points in the game's first two minutes, including back to back three pointers to give Rector a 10-7 lead. A pair of free throws by Scott and an Adam Dinkins trey pushed the Cougar lead to eight. Scott capped off the 12-0 Rector run with a free throw, increasing the Cougar lead to 16-7. Caleb Waugh broke the Rebel scoring drought with a lay-up at the 3:39 mark, but Rector closed the quarter ahead 23-15.
Riverside trailed by six midway through the second period before the Cougars ran off an 8-0 spurt to take a 36-22 advantage with 1:28 remaining before half. Kollin Stone's lay-in cut the Rebel deficit to 12 points at the half.
The Cougars came storming out of the dressing room in the third quarter and looked to have the game well in hand, taking a 52-29 lead at the 1:50 mark, but the Rebels scored the last six points of the period. Luke Baker converted a three point play and Devon Austin canned a free throw before Stone ended the period with an inside bucket to slice the Cougar advantage to 52-35 entering the final frame.
Rector kept its advantage to double figures throughout most of the fourth quarter, thanks to a strong performance at the charity stripe, where the Cougars connected on 16-18 foul shots in the period. But the Rebels would make one last desperate charge in the game's final two minutes. Trailing by 16, Waugh began the comeback with a pair of free throws and a long three pointer. Ben Hensley buried back to back triples, and suddenly the Rebels were down just 67-60 with 45 seconds left on the clock.
Forced to foul, Riverside sent Scott back to the foul line, where the senior point guard calmly pitched in both free throws, and the Rebels saw their season come to an end.
"This was a big win for us," said Rector Coach Matt Mills. "We missed out on the regional last year, and this was a goal we had set for ourselves this season, to get back there. We haven't made free throws well for two weeks, but tonight we were able to knock them down. I was very pleased with our effort. I really thought we won the game in the first quarter. We came to play tonight."
Weber led the Cougars with a game high 28 points while Scott finished with 20, including a 16-19 performance from the foul stripe. Dinkins pitched in 15. Rector went to the foul line a whopping 43 times and connected on 36 for an 84 percent clip. The Cougars canned five treys on the evening.
Stone paced the Rebels with 17 points. Waugh closed his high school career with 14 while Austin also hit double digits, scoring 10. Hensley finished with nine, all on threes. Brandon Sain had seven while Baker added six. The Rebels made 18-29 free throws and hit five threes.
Riverside began the tournament with an 80-55 thrashing of Marmaduke in Monday's first round action. The Rebels held a 15-6 lead after the first quarter and outscored the Greyhounds 25-7 in the second period to take a 40-13 advantage at the half. Riverside took a 65-37 lead into the final frame.
The Rebels put 11 players in the scoring column, led by Waugh's 19 points. Austin scored 16, Victor Cerda had 11 while Stone also hit double figures with 10 points. Sain and Baker tallied six points apiece, Wes Sanders contributed five, Logan Moyer tallied three, Levi Reed netted two while Hensley and Dillon Turner pitched in one point each.