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Riverside rallies past Midland

Kenny Kemp
Riverside's Quan Brock drives to the basket against Cabell Midland's Keegan Adkins.

EAST BANK, W.Va. -- Riverside's Tyus Wood nearly didn't play Wednesday night because of a migraine headache. By the end of the game, however, he'd given it to Cabell Midland.

Wood knocked down a key 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining and followed with two free throws to help ice it as the Warriors rallied for a 54-48 victory at East Bank Middle School.

Tamar Lawson led Riverside with 18 points, including a breakaway slam dunk, and Josh Carpenter nearly added a double-double (10 points, nine rebounds).

The Warriors (4-1) trailed by as many as 12 points late in the third quarter, but staged a furious comeback as Midland went stone cold to start the final period.

"We all stepped up at the end of the game when it really mattered and got the win,'' said Wood, who finished with 13 points and four steals. "We're all confident now.''

Riverside was able to chip away at its deficit because the Knights (2-6) went scoreless for the first 5 minutes, 40 seconds of the fourth quarter. During that time, they were 0 of 14 from the floor and 0 of 2 at the foul line with five turnovers. Thus, a 42-34 lead evaporated into a 47-42 deficit as the Warriors scored 15 straight points between the quarters.

"I don't even know where to start with that,'' said Midland coach Matt Stead. "We're not used to being up in that situation. It's the first time all year we've been up with that kind of lead going into the fourth quarter. I really hoped we'd respond in a better fashion. It wasn't like we were shooting bad shots - we just couldn't put it in.''

Just when the Warriors thought they were on cruise control, Cabell Midland flashed one last surge.

A 3-pointer by the Knights' Keegan Adkins, followed by a five-second closely guarded call against Riverside and a basket by Mark Wilcox (20 points, seven rebounds) stuck Midland back into a 48-47 advantage with 1:08 to go.

Wood, however, mustered up one final flurry of his own.

He took an inside-out feed from Carpenter in the low post and drained a 3 from the top of the key to put Riverside up for good at 50-48. After a Wilcox miss at the other end, Wood was fouled and hit both free throws for a four-point edge with 28 seconds remaining.

Wood, who didn't start, seemed to be just a bit off much of the night, missing eight of his first 10 shots. The Warriors' lone senior brought a 25.5 scoring average into the game.

"I didn't feel good,'' he said. "I was under the weather. My mom and dad both tried to talk me out of [playing], but I wasn't having it. I couldn't let my team down.

"I didn't play too well, but a win's a win. My team stepped up and we got the win.''

Indeed, Riverside's play was uninspiring much of the way. It finished with 36-percent shooting (including just 1 of 14 on 3s) and 22 turnovers.

"We didn't deserve to win this game,'' said Warriors coach Ryan Carter. "Hats off to Cabell Midland, their coaching staff and their players. They gave a lot of effort.

"We had 22 turnovers against a good South Charleston team the other night, a high-pressure team. Then here we had 22 turnovers against Cabell Midland, who sat back in a zone.''

Carter said the team's hit-and-miss practice and playing schedule, a combination of winter weather and the ongoing Kanawha Valley water crisis, contributed to the lack of execution. It was only the Warriors' second game since Dec. 28.

"We've gone through a lot of adversity these last two, 21/2 weeks,'' Carter said. "With only one senior - and Tyus had a migraine to start the game - it's difficult with a young team, but I'm glad we pulled this one off.

"We have a lot of room to improve. Our record's 4-1, but we're not a 4-1 team in the MSAC. We have a lot to improve, and we will. We see gains each and every day we are able to practice. But we don't know anything [about practicing or playing]. It's like day to day. Every morning I send my kids a text before I even talk to my wife, basically.''

Quan Brock led Riverside to a 43-37 edge off the boards by grabbing 11 rebounds. Coy Pettit had eight and Adkins seven for Midland. Sawyer Beckett tallied a dozen points for the Knights.

The game was moved from Riverside because of the water emergency.

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.


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