Lady Rebels bring home junior district championship
Riverside jumped out early and never trailed, defeating Hoxie 43-33 as the Lady Rebels brought home the 3A-3 Junior High District Championship Saturday afternoon at Mustang Gymnasium. The Lady Rebel victory avenged an earlier season defeat at the hands of the Lady Mustangs and capped off a 27-7 season for Riverside.
The Lady Rebels led 12-9 after the first quarter behind the nine-point effort of Cailey Qualls. Qualls began the game with a three pointer, and after Anna Meurer dropped in a triple, Qualls added two conventional back to back three-point plays.
Hoxie fought back in the second stanza and evened the score 12-12 thanks to a technical foul on the Lady Rebels. Another Qualls three pointer put Riverside back on top, but Hoxie answered when Ellery Gillham buried a triple to tie the game 15-all with 2:15 left in the half. The two teams swapped buckets before Qualls put the Lady Rebels on top, 20-17, at the half with a long three pointer from beyond the top of the key.
Riverside took control in the third quarter, moving ahead by double digits. The Lady Rebels began the period outscoring Hoxie 12-2 to take a 30-18 lead. Riverside increased its margin to 32-19 at the 1:58 mark before Hoxie charged back with an 8-2 run of their own, capped off by another Gillham three pointer to slice the Lady Rebel advantage 34-27 after three periods of play.
Meurer began the fourth quarter with a triple to up the Riverside lead to 10. Jaedyn Brown answered with a three pointer for the Lady Mustangs and followed with an eight-foot pull-up jumper to trim the Rebel advantage to 37-32 at the 3:55 mark. Riverside went into a spread offense, forcing Hoxie to foul. The Lady Rebels canned six of eight foul shots over the last minute of play to secure the victory.
Qualls paced Riverside with a game high 17 points while Meurer also hit double digits, scoring 12. Beaner Hoffman, who was double teamed most of the afternoon, tallied eight points. Alexis Courtney netted four while Payton Douglas added two points. Riverside connected on 8-13 free throws and dropped in seven three pointers.
Jaedyn Brown led Hoxie with 12 while Jaecie Brown added 11. Hoxie hit 10-17 foul shots and made three treys.
“We played good basketball from Christmas through the end of the season,” said Riverside Coach Spencer Hoffman. “It was the development of other players. Instead of one player having 20 we started getting three with 10-15. Everyone contributed today. We did a nice job of containing their two really good players. Players made plays today, and that’s what you have to have in big games. I’m really excited for our kids. I thought they played great today.”
Riverside began the tournament with a 43-15 win over Corning in Monday night’s quarterfinal action. Qualls paced the Lady Rebels with 12 points while Hoffman added 11. Meurer scored nine, Courtney had six while Alexis Boatman chipped in three points.
The Lady Rebels blasted Walnut Ridge 57-25 in Thursday’s semifinals. Meurer pumped in 25 points to top Riverside while Hoffman scored 16 and Qualls had 12. Douglas and Kaley Stevens chipped in two points apiece.
Bailey Augustine led Walnut Ridge with 11 points while Chloe Davis added 10.
Riverside junior boys fell in the first round of the tournament to Walnut Ridge, dropping a 58-35 decision.
Ty Flippo paced the Bobcats with 21 points while Kell Flusser added 18. M.J. Wilkinson led the Rebels with 21 points while Traven Weaver chipped in 11.