The Riverbend Bears built a 12-point third-quarter lead, then held off Colonial Forge for a 52–45 win in the quarterfinals of the Commonwealth District boys basketball tournament.
“It was just grit,” said Bears coach Nathaniel Jackson. “It wasn’t pretty for three quarters. It wasn’t pretty in the fourth quarter, either, but we just stayed with it.
“I’ll say one thing about my team, and they’ve shown it all year—we’re tough,” he said. “We know how to battle.”
Terrell Coles led the way for Riverbend (10–13 overall, 5–7 Commonwealth) with 17 points.
“I feel like our team fought together,” Coles said. “I feel like they got tired at the end, and that’s when we took control and we beat them.”
Clifton Goode contributed 10 points for the Bears while pulling down 12 rebounds and blocking three shots.
“I was having fun,” Goode said. “It all happened pretty fast.”
Goode also thought his team had worn down Colonial Forge (7–16,4–9) over the course of the game.
“They couldn’t keep up with us eventually,” he said. “We just kept on running and running. We were finishing and just playing well.”
Trenell Cadden scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help keep the Eagles from clawing their way back.
Khalil Smalls led the fight for Colonial Forge, with 13 of his 16 points coming in the second half. Jalen Willis and Martin Kawa scored 10 each, and Josh Sarratt added seven.
“We fought hard,” said Eagles coach Drew Miller. “We gave a pretty good effort. But they beat us on the boards, and we turned the ball over too many times.”
Riverbend takes on North Stafford (17–4,11–1) next. The game will be the second of a tournament doubleheader at North Stafford on Friday, scheduled for a 7 p.m. start. Stafford and Brooke Point will play in the opener at 5 p.m.
The Wolverines have beaten the Bears twice this season—by 10 last week, and by only three in January.
“We’re going to go out there and give our all,” said Goode. “Really, I think if we can take out a big dude, it would be fun.”
But Jackson said the Bears will have to play better than they did Thursday if they want to beat North Stafford, and they’ll need to avoid turnovers.
“If you look at this game, all of their runs were when we turned the ball over. When we didn’t turn the ball over, they didn’t score,” he said. “We played great half-court defense. Our issue all year has been turnovers. When we turn it over, people get layups.
“I think we can beat anybody if we play our game,” Jackson said. “But I don’t think it’ll be easy, and I don’t think we’ll win if we play like we did tonight.
Riverbend (10-13): Terrel Coles 17, Fabian Murphy 0, Trenell Cadden 11, Saieed McLean 1, Dean Aylesworth 4, Jaren Holmes 2, Clifton Goode 10, Gabriel Woodfin 0, Jay Bland 6, Eric Taylor. Totals: 20 12-16 52.
Colonial Forge (7-16): Josh Sarratt 7, Elijah Sarratt 0, Khalil Smalls 16, Jalen Willis 10, Martin Kawa 10, Shohn Downey 0, Jo’Vaughn Monroe 0, Dawson Hugo 2. Totals: 13 13-21 45.
3-pointers: Riverbend 0 (none). Colonial Forge 6 (Smalls 2, Willis 2, Kawa 2).