By Devin Golden
TUNNEL HILL — Coahulla Creek High School’s boys basketball team couldn’t find Riverdale’s shooter.
Because of that, the Colts’ roll came in the State Farm Christmas Classic came to a sudden stop.
Riverdale’s Steven Wilson made five 3-pointers and helped the Warriors win 61-46 in Friday’s semifinals action at Northwest Whitfield High School to advance to today’s championship at 8:30 p.m. against Tennessee’s Walker Valley, which won the other semifinals matchup 52-46 against White County.
In Friday’s other tournament games, Dalton rolled 61-16 against Murray County and Northwest let a late lead disappear and lost 68-67 to Chattanooga’s Howard.
Dee McCord’s 3-point play brought Coahulla Creek (6-6) to within 39-25 early in the third quarter. But for the next 5:30 to end the period, it was all Riverdale (7-6). The period ended with a 3-pointer from Wilson, another from Gentry Bonds, a steal and layup from Wilson and then another 3-pointer from Wilson to put Riverdale ahead 53-25.
Wilson, a point guard, finished with 19 points.
“He really shot the ball well for us,” River-dale coach Kevin Woodson said. “They came out playing a triangle-and-two defense, and he was one of the ones they were guarding. ... He made the most of his opportunities when he had them.”
Riverdale made seven 3-pointers in all, while Coahulla Creek made two. Despite trailing by 28 to start the fourth quarter, the Colts trimmed that deficit to 13 with 2:18 remaining after an 8-0 run that ended with Hunter Williams’ long shot.
Riverdale never let its lead wither any further.
“We’re going to take a lot of positives out of this,” Coahulla Creek coach Matthew Queener said. “That’s one of the best teams we’ll play all year. ... We’re going to use (Wilson) as an example. He’s not very tall, but that shows the power of being able to shoot well.”
The opening quarter ended with Coahulla Creek down 11-8, but Riverdale extended its lead to 30-18 by halftime.
McCord and Williams each put up 11 points, surpassed only by Darius Miller’s 12. Andrew Fisher finished with eight points. Tyler Smithson scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Jalen Campbell scored 12 for Riverdale, which only had two players score double figures.
Coahulla Creek faces White County at 7 tonight in the tourney’s third-place game.
n Dalton boys 61, Murray County 16: The Catamounts (3-3) forced 40 turnovers and scored the game’s first 11 points while snapping a three-game losing streak.
Cesar Romero’s hook shot with 7:12 left in the second quarter was the first basket for the Indians (1-10).
Dalton — which lost 75-60 on Thursday to White County — extended its lead to 27-10 at halftime and then 38-14 entering the final quarter.
“We played better on defense tonight,” Cats coach Mike Duffie said. “We did better with rotations. Our offense still wasn’t that good.”
Emier Bowman scored 11 points, tallied 10 steals and added four rebounds and four blocks to lead Dalton, while Mark Sims added 10 points.
Romero’s five points topped the scoring list for Murray County.
“We cannot turn the ball over that much and expect to win,” Indians coach Greg Linder said.
Dalton plays Howard at 5:30 p.m. today in the fifth-place game. Murray County plays Northwest at 4 p.m. in the seventh-place matchup.
n Howard (Tenn.) boys 68, Northwest 67: The host Bruins (4-5) led 65-58 with 1:13 left but went 2-for-6 from the free-throw line the rest of the game, and Howard’s Terrance Byrd made a go-ahead 3-pointer with four seconds left.
“We’ve got to grow up and fix ourselves,” Northwest coach Ryan Richards said. “We’ve got a lot of talent. ... We’ve got some tough competitors in that locker room, and I think we’ll respond.”
Northwest trailed 30-23 at halftime and 45-37 with two minutes left in the third quarter, but a 15-4 run put the Bruins ahead early in the fourth period. Caleb Branson’s 3-pointer, part of his 28-point game, made it 59-58 Northwest with 2:59 left.
Tanner Bailey helped with 13 points, and Levi Mosteller scored 12.
Lorenzo McCaulley led Howard with 16 points.