Lions hold off Rebels 51-49 in NEA thriller

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Manila's Jeremiah May (23) draws a charge from Riverside's Braden Overman on the game's last play. The Lions held off a late Rebel rally and hung on to defeat Riverside 51-49 in the first round of the NEA Tournament Saturday at the Convocation Center at Arkansas State University.

Old foes Manila and Riverside met in the first round of the 69th Annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro. The favored Lions held the lead for most of the game before fighting off the Rebels and holding on for a controversial 51-49 victory and a berth in Saturday's quarterfinals against second seeded Nettleton.

Manila took a 14-6 lead after the opening quarter, thanks to back to back three point bombs by Patrick Tanner. Tanner opened the second period with his third straight trey to increase the Lion lead to 17-11. Riverside fought back, getting a five-foot runner from Braden Overman, followed by a Luke Baker triple, to trim the Lion lead to 21-20. But baskets by Dylon Carruth and Bradey Woodall gave Manila a 25-21 lead at the half.

Joel Burrow began the third period nailing consecutive treys to up Manila's advantage to eight, 31-23. The two teams battled on even terms the rest of the quarter, with the Lions holding a 41-33 lead heading into the final frame.

Manila's Dylon Carruth puts in two points for the Lions as Riverside's Gannon Crews (30) defends.

Manila pushed its advantage to 11, 48-37, midway through the fourth quarter before the Rebels mounted one last charge, beginning with a Baker three pointer at the 3:09 mark. An Overman bucket and a long triple by Gavin Stone trimmed the Lions lead to just 48-45 with 1:44 to go.

Matthew May sank a pair of free throws at the 1:28 mark to push the Lion lead to 50-45. Stone connected on one of two charity tosses and after Logan Hamilton missed a pair of free throws, Baker drained another long three and suddenly the Rebels were within a point, 50-49, with 50 seconds showing on the clock.

Riverside fouled May, who missed both ends of the double bonus, giving Riverside the chance to take the lead. Stone had an open look from inside the free throw line, but misfired, with May grabbing the rebound. Stone immediately fouled, sending May back to the charity stripe with seven ticks left on the clock. May missed the first of the double bonus, but after a Riverside timeout, connected on the second free throw, giving Manila a 51-49 advantage.

-Riverside's Chris Sain pulls down a rebound during NEA Tournament action Saturday afternoon in Jonesboro.

The Rebels had one last chance to tie the game or pull out the win. Overman drove the baseline and threw in a five-foot floater, but was whistled for a charge, disallowing the basket and allowing the Lions to escape with the victory.

"That was a tough one to lose," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "I thought we really stepped up our defensive intensity which allowed us to stay in the game. We made a good comeback when we could have folded a couple of times. Looking back, maybe we should have gone to the press earlier. It was very effective for us. We didn't shoot the ball well, but I was proud of our effort. I hate that it came down to a call in the end, but that's the way the ball bounces sometimes."

"I thought both teams played really hard and really well," said Lion Coach Lee Wimberley. "We turned the ball over in the fourth quarter and missed some free throws, allowing them back in the game. Buster Campbell teams just don't quit and they just kept coming. I'd like to think our kids would do the same thing. I thought Patrick Tanner and Joel Burrow both shot the ball well. We are still really young and we show it. The play at the end could have gone either way. We just happened to get the call today."

Manila's Bradey Woodall races for a loose ball while Rebels Gavin Stone, Braden Overman and Luke Baker (15) give chase.

Burrow led Manila with 15 points, all on three pointers. May, Woodall and Tanner each added 10 points apiece. Marcos Flores scored four while Carruth added two points. Manila finished 15-26 from the line and drained eight treys.

Baker topped Riverside with 20 points while Stone added 12. Overman and Grant Mason scored six points each while Gannon Crews added five. The Rebels were 13-23 from the charity stripe while drilling six three pointers.

Manila claimed a pair of 3A-3 conference victories, defeating Hoxie 72-46 Tuesday night before downing Corning 73-60 Friday night on the road.

Woodall canned four three pointers and finished with 27 points in Manila's win over Hoxie. Matthew May added 21.

The Lions won the junior boys contest 60-27. Brock Birmingham pumped in 23 points for Manila.

Matthew May and Woodall scored 32 and 30 points respectively in Manila's win over the Bobcats. Jake Helton scored four, Burrow had three, Carruth tallied two while Flores and Burch Milano pitched in one point apiece.

Manila took the junior boys contest 59-28 to remain unbeaten in conference play.

The Rebels took a pair of 2A-3 conference wins, drubbing Crowley's Ridge Academy 69-35 Tuesday night before squeaking past Cross County 35-34 in Riverside's homecoming game Friday night at Lake City.

Chris Sain scored 18 points while Mason added 13 in Riverside's victory over the winless Falcons.

Steven Stroud scored 11 points to lead the junior Rebels to a 38-18 victory over CRA.

Baker sank a pair of free throws with two seconds left to Riverside to a come from behind one point victory over Cross County. Baker led the Rebels with 13 points while Stone added 10.

The junior Thunderbirds defeated Riverside 45-34.

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