Rebels falter down stretch against Live Oak, fall 52-46

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 24, 2008


Sports Editor

Riverside got off to a hot start on Tuesday night, but couldn’t sustain it as Live Oak rallied from a halftime deficit to beat the Rebels, 52-46.

The game was played at Reserve Christian due to repairs being done at the Riverside gym, due to damage incurred from Hurricane Gustav.

Missed foul shots plagued the Rebels down the stretch, following a script that Riverside Coach Ben Wilson hoped wouldn’t follow his team from a season ago.

“They made their shots at the line, we didn’t,” Wilson said. “They got key rebounds, we didn’t. Even if this is only the first game, it’s very frustrating. It’s like we haven’t made progress.”

Riverside (0-1) missed the front end of 1-and-1 foul shot opportunities three times, and missed six free throws in all, most coming in the second half.

“We basically left nine points on the table,” he said.

Kane Keller led the Rebels in scoring with 18 points. Bobby Smith scored 11, and Josh Tassin scored 10.

Riverside led 17-13 after a quarter and 28-25 at the half.

But Live Oak charged back and took over in the third quarter, outscoring Riverside 16-7 to take a six point lead, one it would be able to maintain.

Not helping matters was a broken nose incurred by Tassin, one of the Rebels’ leading scorers a year ago.

“It threw him off in the fourth quarter. He just couldn’t get it going,” Wilson said.

Even with the loss, Wilson says improvement should be forthcoming. The team’s football players just joined the action, and should get more comfortable with their new teammates going forward.

And entering his second year as Rebels coach, Wilson said his familiarity with the players, and vice-versa, can’t be underestimated.

“I know we’re better than we were last year,” Wilson said. “The kids know me and what I expect. We hung with some tough teams all last year, and I think we’ll compete all year long.

“We just need a win where we can get over the hump in a close game, and do exactly what we need to do to get it. This can be a scary team if it develops some swagger.”