Riverside Military Academy’s basketball program is sitting in an advantageous position with the Region 8-A tournament just days away, but still left yearning for much more this season.
On Friday, sophomore Shad Dabney came through with an early dunk off the feed from Khalid Duke as the Eagles held off Commerce, 66-54, earning the top spot for the region tournament in Commerce. Riverside Military (18-4, 9-1 Region 8-A) controlled its destiny toward the end of the regular season, starting with a win against Lakeview Academy on Jan. 25, then locked up the all-important top spot with wins against George Walton on Jan. 26 and the Tigers on Friday.
“We were peaking at the right time, but we didn’t necessarily play our best tonight” Riverside Military coach Marvin Latham said. “Physically, we are fine, but mentally we got to stay focused going into this tournament.”
Scoring a team-high 17 points for Riverside Military was Issac Teasley, while the Kansas State football signee Duke finished with 16 as the Eagles qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2016.
To start the region tournament, Riverside Military will open Tuesday against an opponent still to be determined.
However, the Eagles should be ready for anything after winning nine straight, dating back to their only region loss against Prince Avenue Christian, 52-43, on Jan. 4.
Despite a strong first quarter in the regular-season finale, Riverside Military found itself trailing 35-34 at halftime.
Once the game got deeper in the third quarter, the physically-dominant Duke, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 pounds, had consecutive steals and a pair of blocked grouped together as the Eagles started to gain some breathing room.
Meanwhile, Teasley scored the most points down the stretch with 10 of his 17 points in the second half.