St. Joe County record falls as Riley tops Memorial in Regionals
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - Several area hoops teams entered Regional Saturday hoping to take the next step towards a state championship.
The 4A Regional at Michigan City lived up to the billing of Hoosier Hysteria, with overtime thrillers and a new scoring leader in St. Joseph County.
The day began with yet another tremendous comeback from Elkhart Memorial, erasing multiple double-digit deficits against Valparaiso to force overtime. Hank Smith hit a game-tying three-pointer with just five seconds left to force the extra period, where the Chargers went on to a 67-60 victory.
"I knew we could [come back] from what we did in Sectionals," said Smith after the game. "I knew [point guard Jose Soto] could dish the ball out and I knew I was going to hit it. The momentum completely switched. It was just unreal."
Riley earned the other spot in the Regional Final with a 54-38 win over Lake Central.
You can view highlights of the morning games in the video above!
Later came the nightcap, with Elkhart Memorial and Riley squaring off for a Regional title and a spot in Semi-State.
Smith continued his hot shooting against the Wildcats, scoring 18 first-half points.
However, Riley again took control in the second half and captured the Regional Championship with a 75-68 victory.
"They made a couple plays down at the end," said Riley coach Eric Brand. "I was just really happy the way our guys, on a night that we didn't have our best game, grinded one out."
The Wildcats were led by Damezi Anderson, whose 18 points pushed him past former Marian and Notre Dame star Demetrius Jackson for the all-time St. Joseph County scoring record.
"He told me just to go beat it. He wanted me to do it. It's just a good accomplishment and good motivation for someone at the NBA level to tell me how to get to the next level."
Despite the record, Anderson said the goals remain the same.
"It's a good accomplishment for me, but I'm going to keep fighting to get better every day to reach our ultimate goal, and that's a state ring."
Riley has a chance to continue that journey next weekend at Semi-State against Carmel.
Below, you can see each of the local teams still alive at the Semi-State round and where they'll play next Saturday, March 17.
3A: Culver Academies vs. New Castle - 1 p.m. Eastern
4A: SB Riley vs. Carmel - 3 p.m. Eastern
2A: Westview vs. Oak Hill - 6 p.m. Eastern