Patriots answer Rebel rally

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Sports Editor

Host Riverside pushed John Curtis to the limit on Friday night in hopes of earning its first district 10-2A victory this season. But the Patriots wouldn’t falter late, and escaped with a 47-42 victory.

Curtis (6-10, 4-1) remains in a first place tie in the loss column with Newman and St. James for the District 10-2A lead.

Riverside (13-13, 0-4) overcame a 27-21 halftime deficit to lead by one in the fourth quarter. But turnovers plagued the Rebels late, as well as Curtis’ ability to gather offensive rebounds in key spots.

“Everyone contributed and played real well. It just wasn’t enough,” said Riverside Coach Ben Wilson. “We’re not real deep, and with the foul trouble we had, it would have helped to have everyone available.”

One key player in foul trouble was the Rebels’ Jarid Caesar, who picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter.

“He’s not only one of our best ball-handlers, but also a very good rebounder,” said Wilson. “We need him out there defensively, on the boards, limiting mistakes. They were able to get some second-chance points and force some turnovers that, if we had him out there, maybe don’t go that way.”

Jonathan McKnight scored 10 for the Patriots in the win.

Kane Keller and Bobby Smith led Riverside offensively. Keller scored 14, and Smith added 13.

Riverside was able to limit Curtis’s points in transition and on the perimeter, especially in the second half.

But the Patriots found their offense inside, where its size advantage proved a difficult matchup for the Rebels.

“Obviously, we’re one of the smallest teams in our district,” said Wilson. “These kids have a lot of heart. But in games like that, you have to make good decisions and have a little luck go your way if you’re going to win.”

Wilson said that his team needs to maintain its composure late in close games.

“Even down by one or two points, sometimes we looked like we were in panic mode,” he said. “We got away from what we had done earlier in the game to get in it.”

Riverside returns to action Friday, against a team Wilson says is very similar to Curtis in St. James. The Wildcats defeated the Rebels in their previous meeting on Jan. 15.

“The last time we played them at their place, we shot 6-for-35,” Wilson said. “They got the best of us. If we can do some of the things we did in this game, and shoot better than we did, then maybe we can turn the tables.”