Updated Sat, Jan 18, 2014 10:05 pm
The terrific trio of Josh Reagan, D.D. Joiner and Jermaine Warmack are starting to gel together and are showing no sign of slowing down. Campbellsville battled hard from the tipoff to the final buzzer but the Tigers couldn’t find an answer to Rio Grande’s depth as they fell in double overtime 132-121.
Joiner fed off of his 23-point outing on Thursday night to score the first two baskets of the game for the RedStorm. Minutes later, Reagan came off the bench and quickly sparked another sense of life into the game.
The junior forward used his big frame to force his way into the paint to score nine straight points for the RedStorm. Rio Grande started to slow down shortly after Reagan’s electrifying presence. This resulted in sloppy play and multiple turnovers.
The RedStorm found themselves trailing 25-18 with nine minutes remaining in the first half until Reagan had something to say about it.
The big man expanded his shooting range to behind the arc and led Rio to a 7-0 scoring run and tied the contest at 25. Reagan rushed to the sidelines to high-five his teammates while banging on his chest, screaming a chant of enthusiasm to the RedStorm nation. Joiner fed off of his teammate’s charismatic energy, catching fire from the 3-point line to give Rio a 54-45 lead at intermission.
Miles Rice and the Tigers of Campbellsville had not given up yet. The freshman guard provided a burst of energy into the hearts of his team in the second half. Rio Grande and Campbellsville fought hard in the second half of action, exchanging leads and momentum but the game took a dramatic turn in the final seconds of regulation.
Rice was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left in the game and calmly sank all three of his shots. Joiner’s 3-point attempt came up just short of the basket resulting in free basketball for the fans in the Newt Oliver Arena.
“On Saturdays in the Mid-South conference crazy things happen and this happened to be one of those days,” said head coach Ken French.
Rio Grande was dealt a rough hand when Reagan fouled out of the game with one minute to play in overtime. Rice stole the ball away from Warmack with three seconds remaining in the contest and the score tied at 111, but his 3-point shot was unsuccessful and a second overtime ensued.
The RedStorm came out of the huddle as an entirely different team in the second overtime. Phillip Hertz and Joiner shot phenomenally from behind the arc and Warmack nailed his free throws to lift Rio to an exhilarating victory.
Reagan led the RedStorm in scoring with 36 points and eight rebounds.
“Josh gives us toughness that maybe we haven’t had,” French said. “He gives the other guys around him confidence just like D.D. Joiner does.”
The scrappy playmaker was happy to be back on the hardwood after having to sit out for a game because of a scuffle he had in last Saturday’s game.
“Anytime I get the chance to play I try to attribute as much as I can,” Reagan said. “My teammates really helped me out. It’s a huge team win for us.”
Warmack added 28 points and finished the night 20-of-22 from the free-throw line. Joiner netted 24 points, 12 of which came from behind the arc. Hertz added 12 and Ricky Tisdale netted 10 in the winning effort.
Six Campbellsville players scored in double-figures on Saturday night. Rice led the way with 29 points followed by Elliot Young who netted 25.
French is going to instill the same game plan to his players that he has all season going into the game versus Pikeville.
“We take it one game at a time. I always tell the guys we got the biggest game of the season coming up and I say that every game. We just knock ‘em off one game at a time,” said French.
RedStorm fans typically rock out to an assortment of rock and rap music prior to tipoff but the pre-game festivities were much different in Rio Grande on Saturday night. The RedStorm faithful were brought to tears as Bryan Stevens, a student assistant on the Rio Grande coaching staff, was awarded the 2013 Corey Taylor Heart and Hustle Award.
Taylor was a member of the Rio Grande basketball program who was tragically killed in an automobile accident on Christmas night in 2008. The Rio Grande starters symbolically touched a number 50 jersey, as they rushed onto the court for the game. The jersey sat alone on the back of a chair on the Rio Grande bench all game in honor of Taylor.
With the win, Rio Grande extends its winning streak to six and sits atop the conference beside Pikeville. Rio Grande will travel to Pikesville for a battle for the top of the conference on Jan. 23. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.