Leader Blues

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

SPORTS >> Riverview runs into Baptist buzzsaw

Leader sports editor

SEARCY — It was a big loss for Riverview, but it wasn’t a big thing.

Defending 3A state champion Arkansas Baptist handed top seed Riverview a 65-44 loss in the 3A Region II final at the Riverview Activity Center on Saturday.

Shooting and defensive lapses left Riverview coach Russell Stumpenhaus scratching his head, but the primary thing was learning from the experience in time for this week’s state tournament in Jessieville.

“We don’t play until Thursday so we’ve got a lot of time,” Stumpenhaus said. “ It’s not huge things. It’s a close out here or there; it’s a help side. It’s not major. We’re not having to recreate things.”

Stumpenhaus admitted, after his team beat Jessieville 66-40 and Fountain Lake 57-30 in the earlier rounds, Saturday’s one-sided loss in the regional final was puzzling.

“I think we played really tight for some reason,” Stumpenhaus said. “I’m not really sure. I’m still baffled as to why we’d play tight in our own gym.”

Part of it was because of Arkansas Baptist, which played one of its best gamesof the year, first-year coach Jeff Hogue said.

The Eagles never trailed and faced one early, 5-5 tie before racing off to a 21-10 lead in the second quarter. It was 23-15 at halftime and 46-31 at the end of the third quarter. The closest Riverview would get to the lead was 29-21 when Tyler Colvin made a fade-away jumper with 4:55 left in the third.

“I think we put a lot of things together and our little matchup zone worked pretty good on defense the other night,” Hogue said. “I think that was probably the key. Guys just communicated well and we made plays when we had to on offense.”

D.C. Green and Chris Green had 18 points each and Logan Quinn finished with 16 points for the Eagles. Chris Green is just playing himself back into shape after back surgery that caused him to miss much of Arkansas Baptist’s conference run.

Riverview will play Lincoln in its first 3A state tournament game at Jessieville on Thursday. The Raiders are on the opposite side of the bracket from Arkansas Baptist and would like to arrange a rematch in the final in Hot Springs.

“After all of our five losses or six losses or whatever it is we’ve gotten better,” Stumpenhaus said. “There’s a lot to get better for. At this point in state tournament time you play to win and you win to keep playing.”