Stone explodes for 40
Gavin Stone capped off an incredible week, pouring in 40 points to lead the Riverside Rebels to a 79-74 victory over Manila Friday night before a full house at Lion Gym.
The Rebel gunslinger, who scored 42 points Monday night against Trumann, and 22 more Tuesday night at Brookland, buried his first eight three point attempts, including seven in the first half, to help the Rebels jump to a 21-point lead over Manila. Stone brought the crowd to its feet during a second quarter scoring barrage that saw the senior guard nail five straight three pointers while scoring 19 points.
The Lions did their best to fight back, and connected on five consecutive three pointers of their own. Abraham Lopez began the three-point parade, Conner Belew then knocked down successive triples before Bradey Woodall closed out the half with back to back bombs, including a 35-footer at the buzzer, to pull Manila to within 42-28 at halftime.
The Lions came out smoking in the second half, as Belew, Matthew May and Woodall all drained three pointers to help Manila slice the Rebel lead to 46-37 at the 5:15 mark. But Stone answered again with his eighth three pointer of the night to push the Riverside lead back to double digits. A pair of three pointers, one by Joel Burrow and another by Belew, helped the Lions chip the Rebel lead down to 53-45 with 2:56 left in the quarter. Riverside went on a 5-0 run before Burrow canned a pair of free throws to close out the quarter with the Rebels on top, 58-47.
Manila began the final frame scoring five straight to trim the Riverside lead to 58-52. Burrow got things going with a three-point play and followed with a nifty move to the bucket to bring the Lion faithful to their feet. But a Chris Sain three pointer, followed by three consecutive Stone free throws, pushed the Rebel lead back to double digits with five minutes left in the game. A Stone scoop shot and a basket by Landon Moyer, off a nice feed from Sain, had Riverside ahead 71-63 with 2:26 remaining.
Stone came away with a steal and dropped in a 10-footer, and the Rebels looked to be comfortably in control leading 73-63 with only 1:35 left. But a Matthew May triple and an acrobatic tip-in from Woodall sliced the Rebel lead down to just six at the 56 second mark. Manila had one last chance when Riverside was called for a five-second violation, giving the ball back to the Lions. Stone was then whistled for his fifth foul, sending Woodall to the line. The junior guard made one of two attempts, pulling Manila to within 74-69. But that was as close as the Lions would get. Riverside made just enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for their 20th victory of the season.
Braden Overman and Milligan also scored in double digits for the Rebels, with 11 and 10 points respectively. Sain finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, Moyer scored five, Dylan Austin had four while Brody Davis finished with one point. Riverside connected on 21-30 foul shots and drained 10 three pointers.
Burrow paced the Lions with 19 points, Belew scored 17, Matthew May and Woodall tallied 12 points apiece while Brock Birmingham contributed seven. Lopez netted three while Jeremiah May and Dalton Hitchcock added two points apiece. The Lions dropped in 12-16 free throws and canned 12 treys.
"I'd like to say it was a great coaching job, but I think the best thing I did was to make sure Stone got on the bus," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "I don't know how you can play a better first half than he did. Then Manila came out in the second half and hit like seven in a row. Our kids played good defense; Manila just got hot. Manila has a good ball club. It was a great ball game and a huge win for us to get to 7-1 in the league. I am really proud of these kids. They had a big week, winning Monday night at Trumann, Tuesday night at Brookland and here tonight against Manila. They are proving their mettle right now."
"You can't fall behind a good team by 21 points in the first half," said Lion Coach Lee Wimberley. "I thought we played an amazing second half. We never quit and kept battling. I feel like right now Gavin Stone is playing better than anyone in our conference. His teammates know exactly what their roles are, and Buster is doing an excellent job with them. But we have to be able to play four quarters. Had we played a good first half, it might have been a different game."
In junior high action, Manila broke open a close game, outscoring Riverside 34-3 in the second half to roll over the Rebels 57-23. Riverside held a 12-11 edge after the first quarter before Manila rallied to take a 23-20 lead at the half. The Lions outscored Riverside 19-2 in the third period to take a commanding 44-22 lead into the final frame.
Manila (14-3) got 17 points from Austin Harmon and 16 more from Daley Belew. Ty Wagner scored eight, Brian Gonzalez had six, Anthony Lopez and Greg Patterson tallied three points apiece while Alex Estell and Kason Grissom added two points each.
D.J. Bowers and Ryan Austin led Riverside with six points apiece. Demo Bowers and Gage Crews had three points each. Jacob Thomas and Ethan Boatman tallied two points apiece while Traven Weaver pitched in one point.
Riverside returns to action Tuesday night at Osceola. First place in conference play will be on the line when the Rebels tackle the Seminoles. Riverside will play host to Gosnell Friday night at Lake City.
Manila travels to Brookland Tuesday night to take on the Bearcats before playing host to Osceola Friday night at Lion Gym.