Colts slip past Lions in regional semifinals
Rivals Manila and Rivercrest met for the third time in Friday night’s regional semifinals at Melbourne. In the rubber match, it was the Colts who came out on top, canning 14-19 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold on for a 63-58 victory over the Lions.
Manila held a 7-6 lead at the 3:20 mark of the first period following a 10-foot Brock Birmingham jumper, but the Colts closed the quarter on a 5-0 run, getting a three pointer from Derrick Johnson and an offensive stick-back from Kam Turner. Turner’s bucket gave the Colts an 11-7 advantage after the first break.
Rivercrest maintained its lead throughout the second stanza and went ahead 19-11 at the 2:56 mark on a strong inside move by junior guard Kentavious Robinson. The Lions roared back when Birmingham banged home a three pointer and Trenton Thomas scored on a nifty inside move at the 1:11 mark, slicing the colt lead to 19-16. Robinson banked in an eight-footer, putting Rivercrest back up 21-16 before Birmingham closed the half with a pair of free throws, cutting the Colt advantage to 21-18 at intermission.
Trailing by four early in the third quarter, Birmingham ignited an 8-0 Lion run with a three pointer from the corner. Woodall followed with an offensive stick-back before Joel Burrow buried a triple from the left wing, putting Manila on top 26-22. The Colts charged from behind and tied the game on a trey from Johnson at the 3:12 mark, tying the contest at 30-all. Rivercrest closed the quarter by outscoring the Lions 9-4 to gain a 39-35 advantage heading into the final frame.
Manila scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, taking a 40-39 edge on a pair of Woodall free throws at the 7:14 mark. The two teams swapped leads until the Colts went in front to stay on Demilon Brown’s bucket with 3:51 left in the game. The remainder of the contest was a free throw shooting exhibition by the Colts, who sank just enough attempts to secure a berth in the championship game against Osceola.
Birmingham scored 22 points to lead the Lions while Woodall added 16. Burrow had seven while Thomas and Daley Belew chipped in six points apiece. Manila went 16-23 from the foul stripe and dropped in five three pointers.
Rivercrest got 20 points from Brown while Turner and Johnson added 13 and 11 points respectively. The Colts knocked down 16-25 free throws and canned three treys.
Lions crush Valley Springs for third place
In Saturday afternoon’s third place game, Manila crushed Valley Springs 77-41, earning a number three seed in this week’s Class 3A State Tournament at Monticello. The Lions will begin state tournament play Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 against two-seed Jessieville.
The Lions jumped ahead of the Tigers 18-8 after the first quarter and held a 32-26 halftime advantage. Manila outscored Valley Springs 22-7 in the third period to blow the game open, 54-33.
Woodall poured in a game high 30 points, all in the first three quarters, to pace the Lions, while Burrow netted 12. Abraham Lopez had nine, Birmingham netted eight while Daley Belew and Dalton Hitchcock contributed five points apiece. Anthony Lopez and Coby Hollis chipped in two points each. Manila canned 18-23 foul shots and drained seven treys.
Lawson Jenkins topped the Tigers with 22 points. Valley Springs hit 13-24 foul shots and nailed four triples.