By Molly Seales
On Saturday, January 22, the 5th and 6th grade Little Lady Rebels and Little Rebels basketball teams travelled to Riverfield Academy to compete in the annual championship tournament. The Little Lady Rebels were seeking a repeat championship after bringing the trophy home to East Point last year, and they did not disappoint. In the semifinal game, the Lady Rebels defeated Franklin Academy 27-9, with all girls getting playing time. Kaleigh Pickett had 13 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, 3 deflections, and an assist. Maddie Baxley chipped in 8 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 deflections. Emma Youngblood had 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 deflections, and 1 steal. Madelyn Chamberlin led the team in rebounding with 6 boards. She also had 5 deflections, 3 steals, 3 blocked shots, and 2 deflections. Lilly McCoy had 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 deflections, and an assist. Addisyn Barrett had 4 deflections, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal. Brooklyn Giddings had 2 rebounds, and Chloe Spradley and Kenna Coleman had a rebound and a steal each. The championship game proved to be a much harder contest, but the Lady Rebels fought hard and came out on top as they defeated #1 seed Riverfield 18-14. Madelyn Chamberlin led the team in scoring with 9 points. She also had 8 rebounds, 8 deflections, 7 blocked shots, and 3 steals. Kaleigh Pickett added 5 points, 7 rebounds, 4 deflections, and an assist. Emma Giddings had 4 points, 8 rebounds, 4 deflections, and 2 steals. Maddie Baxley sank 2 crucial free throws in the last minutes of the game, while also pulling down 7 rebounds, having 3 deflections, and an assist. Lilly McCoy had 6 rebounds and 3 deflections. Head Coach Cody Hillman is super proud of his team for bringing the championship trophy back to Riverdale for the second year in a row. It was a special win for Hillman. Last year he coached his older daughter, Ally Kate, in the championship game, and this year he coached his younger daughter, Ellie Reese, in the championship game. He’s now won a championship with both of his daughters!
The Little Rebels came in as the underdogs, having the lowest seed and facing #1 Riverfield on their home court. They showed their fighting spirit and proved that seeding numbers mean nothing as they knocked off Riverfield 17-11 in a stunning semi-final victory. With the score deadlocked at 11-11 and 40 seconds remaining in the game, Jax Hearold found Hayden Cason open on the left baseline. Cason took aim and drained a 3-pointer to put the Rebels up 14-11. Desperation set in for Riverfield, who was unable to recover. Cason had a total of 4 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 deflections. Kaden McNeely had 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 deflections. Jax Hearold had 3 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, an assist, and an outstanding 10 deflections. Jackson Hillman had 3 points, 5 rebounds, 4 deflections, and 2 steals. Karson Milner-Dortlon had 2 points, a steal, and a deflection. Kane Milner-Dortlon added a point, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 deflection. The Little Rebels fought hard in the championship game but came up just short, losing 18-14 to Prairie View Academy. Jackson Hillman had 5 points, 4 deflections, 2 steals, and a rebound. Kaden McNeely had 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 deflections. Hayden Cason had 3 points, 4 rebounds, 3 deflections, and a steal. Jax Hearold had 2 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and 2 deflections. Kane Milner-Dortlon had 6 steals, 4 rebounds, and 1 deflection. Head Coach Brandon “Jumbo” Hillman is very proud of these boys and the great season they had! The Riverdale basketball future looks very promising! Congratulations on a great season!