Oakland won the battle and the first-round bye for the District 7-AAA tournament Monday night.
Fourth-ranked Riverdale was left with questions surrounding the health of its best player and the realization that the Lady Warriors face a season-elimination game on Thursday night.
Oakland scrapped back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat cross-town rival Riverdale 56-50 at Randy King Gymnasium on the Lady Patriots’ senior night. Oakland earned the second seed for the tournament with the win because of a tiebreaker determined prior to the season. Riverdale will be the third seed.
The win was Oakland’s first since March 2, 2005 over the Lady Warriors, spanning 22 games.
“All of the seniors knew how long it had been,” said Oakland senior Emily Eubank, who finished with 10 points. “It’s been a long three years with this whole rivalry. We’ve worked our butt off.
“I can’t even express the feeling. But it’s not over. We’re not satisfied.”
Riverdale (21-6, 9-3 in 7-AAA) plays the winner of the La Vergne-Stewarts Creek play-in game on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in a District 7-AAA quarterfinal contest. La Vergne (5-21, 1-11) and Stewarts Creek (6-20, 2-10) play at 6 p.m. Wednesday. All games are at Siegel High.
Oakland (23-4, 9-3) plays the Riverdale quarterfinal winner at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the 7-AAA semifinals.
However, the Lady Warriors may have to play the postseason without senior Alexa Middleton, a Tennessee signee and McDonald’s All-American.
Middleton injured her right knee with 4:33 left in the third quarter when she collided with Kiara Howse. She later checked in with 26.5 seconds left in the third quarter and scored seven fourth-quarter points on the injured knee. But she left the game again for more tests on the knee and returned with it taped.
She was scheduled to have more medical tests on the knee late Monday night, or possibly today.
“Anything with a knee always scares me,” Middleton said after the game. “It hurt.
“I’m going to go to the trainers room for more tests. Each time I came back in, I’d make a move and it would give out and tighten up again.”
Middleton finished with a game-high 17 points.
Oakland took charge of the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Warriors 25-9.
“We didn’t come out the way we wanted in the third quarter, but we didn’t quit,” said Oakland senior Kaitlin Oliver, who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. “We weren’t going to go out like that. I couldn’t let us go out like that.”
Trailing 45-36, the Lady Patriots scored 15 straight to take a six-point lead with 1:15 left. Oakland went inside to Shelby Gibson in the fourth-quarter run. Gibson scored 12 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“We had been trying to go in to Shelby all night,” Oakland coach Jennifer Grandstaff said. “I thought she really responded in the fourth quarter. We got it to her, and she took it to them.
“There was a lot of heart and a lot of fight about us in the fourth quarter. I can’t say enough about their energy and their passion that they played with in the fourth quarter. I think that had a lot to do with it.”
Oakland 59, Riverdale 58
Kyle Oliver was held to 11 points, but scored the game winner, completing a comeback over rival Riverdale.
Riverdale guard Brad Woodson had two 3-point attempts in the final moments, but was off target. A tip-in attempt at the buzzer also missed.
Oakland, the fourth seed, plays fifth-seed Smyrna at 6 p.m. Friday. Riverdale, the sixth seed, plays seventh seed Stewarts Creek at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Jarrell Reeves led Oakland with 21 points, including 19 in the second half, to power the Patriots, who trailed by eight at halftime. Teammate Ricky Dunnaway added 12.
Psalms Duff led Riverdale with 16 points. Woodson added 14, and Jalen Campbell had 11.
Oakland 56, Riverdale 50
Riverdale 11 16 14 9 – 50
Oakland 13 10 8 25 – 56
Riverdale: Shelbie Davenport 14, Pendergrass 3, Alley 3, Alexa Middleton 17, Deja Jones 13.
Oakland: A. Eubank 5, Shelby Gibson 15, Kaitlin Oliver 16, Howse 5, Emily Eubank 10, Patterson 5.
Riverdale 11 19 13 15 – 58
Oakland 11 11 13 24 – 59
Riverdale: Brad Woodson 14, Wilson 7, Psalms Duff 16, Jalen Campbell 11, Smithson 7, Bonds 1, Barge 2.
Oakland: Epps 9, Kyle Oliver 11, D. Smith 4, Jarrell Reeves 21, Givens 2, Ricky Dunnaway 12.