SPORTS >> Raiders, Wildcats both get bumped
By JASON KING
A historic fifth meeting this season between the Harding Academy Wildcats and Riverview Raiders was not to be thanks to the efforts of Manila.
The Lions, who came into the 3A state tournament in Jessieville a No. 2 seed out of the 3-3A Conference, knocked off the Wildcats 57-46 in the quarterfinal round Friday night, and sent the Raiders home from the semifinals the following day by winning 53-47.
Riverview advanced to the semifinals with a thrilling 54-53 victory over Rivercrest in the quarterfinals Friday.
Tyler Colvin led the Raiders with 11 points while Jordan Perry and Taylor Smith each scored nine. But Riverview’s biggest contribution was from unlikely fourth-quarter hero Roshard Bailey, who scored eight of his 10 points in the final period.
Perry also helped out with a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter, as the Raiders advanced to play Manila is Saturday’s semifinal.
The Raiders did a solid job defending Manila sharp shooter J.J. Helton, who made six successful three-pointers against Harding Academy the day before. Riverview held him to only three points, but they were vital points coming on a fourth-quarter three-pointer.
While Harding Academy kept Manila’s biggest scoring threat in check, it was the 23 points from Blake Wheeler and 17 from Kim Ashabranner the Raiders could not answer.
The Raiders got one of their best team performances offensively, but simply needed more points. Colvin led with 14 points while point guard Keinan Lee scored 10.
Smith and junior post player D.J. Teague each scored nine points.
Manila used its outside shooting to pull away from Harding Academy in the second half on Friday. J.J. Helton hit a trio of three-pointers in the third quarter, and added another in the final period to go along with a pair of threes from Blake Wheeler.
Kim Ashabranner helped secure the victory for the Lions down the stretch, going 6 of 6 at the free-throw line in the fourth.
It was the Wildcats who started off strong from the outside. Raymond Dailey hit two three-pointers in the first quarter and added another in the second. Dailey scored 12 of his total 13 points on three-point baskets.
Freshman Will Francis led the Wildcats with 14 points while Daniel Stevens and Jordan Smith both finished with nine.
Helton led the Lions with 18 points, all of which came on three-point shots. Wheeler added 13 and Ashabranner scored 10.