Rebels hold off Lions 61-54
Riverside outscored Manila 10-2 over the last 3:14 of the fourth quarter, enabling the Rebels to stave off a furious second half Lion rally to earn a 61-54 victory Tuesday night at Lake City.
The Rebels threatened to blow the game open early, storming to an 11-0 lead, and held a 14-2 advantage after Jon Milligan's three point play at the 4:15 mark of the opening frame. Manila's Bradey Woodall completed a three point play of his own, as the Lions closed the first period trailing 18-7.
Riverside continued to build on its lead in the second quarter behind the scoring of guards Gavin Stone and Dylan Austin to take 34-18 lead into the dressing room at intermission.
The Rebels gained their biggest lead of the night when Stone opened the third quarter with a three point bomb, giving Riverside a 37-20 lead. But the Lions began to slowly chip away at the Rebel margin. Woodall and Joel Burrow banged home back to back treys to ignite a 14-0 Lion run. A Dalton Hitchcock bucket, a three point play by Matthew May, followed by another Burrow triple, pulled Manila to within 39-36 at the 2:05 mark of the third quarter. Riverside answered, running off the final five points of the stanza to hold a 44-36 advantage entering the final period.
Manila continued to fight back in the fourth quarter. Conner Belew opened the final frame with a long three pointer, following by Brock Birmingham 's 10-foot jumper to slice the Rebel lead to three with 7:06 to go. Riverside maintained a slim advantage until Burrow dropped in a pair of free throws at the 3:24 mark to put the Lions on top for the only time of the night, 52-51.
Riverside responded on its next possession when Stone went to the line and knocked down two critical free throws to put the Rebels on top to stay, 53-52, with 3:14 remaining in the game. The Rebels got an offensive stickback from Landon Moyer, followed by Stone's steal and lay-in, increasing their advantage to 57-52 with 1:54 remaining. The Rebels hit just enough free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Stone finished with a game high 26 points to lead the Rebels, and also handed out six assists while coming away with five steals. Austin scored 13 while Milligan had 10 points and eight rebounds. Braden Overman contributed six points and pulled down a game high 13 boards. Moyer netted four while Chris Sain chipped in two points. Riverside struggled from the foul line, hitting just 16-31 attempts, including a 13-26 performance in the fourth quarter. The Rebels nailed three treys on the night.
Matthew May topped the Lions with 12 points while Woodall finished with 10. Birmingham scored nine, Burrow and Hitchcock tallied eight points apiece, Belew pitched in three while Dylon Carruth and Abraham Lopez added two points each. Manila connected on 11-17 foul shots and drained five three pointers, all during the Lions' second half comeback.
"That was a big conference win," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "We tried to give it away. You can't shoot 50 percent from the foul line in the fourth quarter and expect to win many games. We were lucky to come out with a victory. We played a great first half, but we got in some foul trouble and to Manila's credit, they fought back in the second half. A lot of times when you build a big lead and lose it, you will fold, but these kids didn't. I am very proud of them. Manila is a good team and this is a big conference win."
"We didn't come ready to play in the first half," said Manila Coach Lee Wimberley. "But the second half, that's the team that I thought we had all along. If we can figure out what it takes to do that for four quarters, then we'll be fine. I thought Dalton Hitchcock gave us a big lift off the bench, and Matthew May played well in the second half. We had a chance to win it, but we turned the ball over four straight times down the stretch. Riverside is playing well right now, and Gavin Stone is a tremendous player."
In junior high action, Manila slipped past Riverside 40-37. The Lions held an 8-5 lead after the opening quarter and took a slim 17-16 edge into the dressing room at the half. Riverside rallied to take a 30-25 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Ty Wagner and Austin Harmon led the Lions with 10 points apiece. Brian Gonzalez scored seven, Anthony Lopez had six, Daley Belew netted three while Greg Patterson and Emery Garrett pitched in two points apiece.
Gage Crews paced the Rebels with 14 points while D.J. Bowers added 13 more. Demo Bowers and Jacob Thomas chipped in five points apiece.
Manila fell to 2-3 and 0-2 in league play with a 60-54 loss to Brookland Friday night at Lion Gym. Manila held a 16-11 advantage after the first break and led 30-25 at halftime. Brookland fought back to take a 43-40 lead after three quarters.
Woodall scored a game high 26 points to lead the Lions while Birmingham added seven. The Bearcats placed four players in double digits, led by Braxton Haff's 20 points.
Manila took the junior high contest 67-49. Belew led the Lions with 21 points while Harmon added 19.
Riverside returns to action Monday night when they take on East Poinsett County in the first round of the Gerald Jennings Tournament at Armorel. Tipoff is set for 5:30. The Rebels will resume regular season action Tuesday night when they travel to Gosnell to take on the Pirates.
The Lions will face Gerald Jennings Tournament host Armorel at 7 p.m. Monday night. Manila will travel to Osceola Tuesday night before hosting Harrisburg Friday night.