Lions capture 3A-3 District title over Rivercrest

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Manila senior Caleb Reinhart scoops in two of his game high 25 points as teammate Jake Helton looks on during the Lion's 62-59 victory in the finals of the 3A-3 District Championship Monday night in the Lion's Den.

Manila senior Caleb Reinhart sank three free throws in the final 46 seconds to send the Lions past Rivercrest 62-59 in the finals of the weather delayed 3A-3 District Basketball Tournament Monday, Feb. 23, in the Lion's Den.

The tournament title was the first for Manila since the 2001-2002 season, and gave the Lions a bit of revenge over the Colts, who had defeated Manila in both regular season meetings.

Early on, it looked as though Rivercrest might run away from Manila, when the Colts bolted to a 12-2 lead midway through the opening quarter. But the Lions fought back and pulled to within 16-10 after the first break.

Rivercrest senior guard Marquez Chew drives for two of his 23 points. Lion freshman Bradey Woodall defends. Woodall and the Lions knocked off Chew's Colts 62-59 to claim the district championship.

Back to back buckets by the Colts to begin the second period stretched the Rivercrest lead back to 10, before the Lions put together an 8-0 run, capped off by a Bradey Woodall bucket to close the gap to two, 20-18, at the 3:59 mark. Rivercrest pushed ahead 25-18 on a pair of Marquez Chew free throws, followed by a Chew three pointer. Manila rallied to close out the half behind Reinhart, who scored eight straight points as the Lions chopped the Colt lead to 30-28 at intermission.

Thomas Davis began the second half with a pair of triples to put Manila on top 34-32. Carl Williams scored on the inside to draw the Colts even at the 4:43 mark, but the Lions outscored Rivercrest 11-0 to close out the quarter, taking a 45-34 advantage into the final frame. Kyle Joyner began the Lion run with a short jumper and closed off the period with a 10-footer, giving Manila an 11 point advantage.

The Lions maintained a double digit lead until midway through the fourth quarter when the Colts put together one last charge. Rivercrest strung together a 17-5 run over a three minute period and grabbed a 57-55 edge on Chew's pull-up triple with 2:54 left in the game.

Davis answered with an offensive stick-back for the Lions to tie the game with 2:28 showing on the clock. After a Lion defensive stop, Reinhart gave the Lions the lead for good, 59-57, with an acrobatic, off-balanced, left-handed scoop at the 1:22 mark.

Reinhart's free throws in the last minute put the Lions up by three with four seconds remaining, giving Rivercrest one last chance to send the game into overtime. But Chew's desperation shot from midcourt missed the mark as the horn sounded.

"I knew we had to close it out. I hadn't won a district championship yet and I knew this was my last chance. I've been waiting all my high school career for this," said Caleb Reinhart.

"We made some big plays and everybody did their job tonight," said Lion Coach Lee Wimberley. "When Rivercrest made their fourth quarter run and took the lead we could have folded. Jake Helton gave us a real spark, taking four or five charges tonight. I thought if we could force Rivercrest to shoot threes, limit our turnovers and make our free throws we would win. We did two of the three, except for the turnovers, which we had seven in the first couple minutes of the game. But we hit 17-22 free throws and that will win you a lot of games. I am really proud of the team tonight."

Reinhart led Manila with 25 points, followed by Davis and Helton with 13 and 12 points respectively. Joyner scored six while Woodall, Matthew May and Seth Grissom all added two points each.

Chew paced the Colts with 23 points while Williams added 13 and Hunter Malone chipped in 10. The Colts finished a miserable 4-12 from the foul line.

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