By Brian Howard
Anyone who left the Riverdale High School boys basketball game against Lithonia early Friday night missed a tremendous comeback by the Raiders.
Rashad Tukes scored all 27 of his game-high points in the second half and overtime as Riverdale beat Lithonia, 70-66, in a Region 2-AAAAA game.
In the girls contest, the Lady Raiders overcame an eight-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Lady Bulldogs, 58-55.
Tukes, who missed his career high by five points, struggled in the first half, but got things going with a 13-point third-quarter performance.
“I have been working hard trying to get my shot back,” Tukes said. “I transferred from the football field to here (basketball court). I have been struggling to get my shot back all year and it finally showed up.”
The Raiders (3-2 overall, 1-1 region) trailed by as many as 18 points after Chris Colvin completed a 3-point play with 7:22 left in the third quarter, giving the Bulldogs a 33-14 lead.
The Raiders cut the deficit to 45-34 at the end of the third and used a 17-7 run to trim the lead to 52-51 after a pair of free throws by Tukes with 2:45 remaining in regulation.
Trailing 55-51, Fred Clyde, who hit a key 3-pointer with three minutes left, scored on a putback with 24 seconds left, and after a turnover by the Bulldogs (0-2, 0-2), Matthew Johnson, who was fouled, sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 55.
Tukes, who finished with nine rebounds, had one final opportunity to win the game in regulation, but his shot fell short.
In the extra period, Tukes scored eight points, including the first basket in overtime, which gave Riverdale its first lead since 3-2.
The Raiders led 65-59 after two Kerri Haygood free throws, but the Bulldogs kept the game close and cut the deficit to 68-66 after a Colvin putback jumper. But Clyde, who finished with 13 points, sealed the win with four seconds remaining by knocking down two free throws.
Haygood also reached double figures for the Raiders, scoring 10 points and pulling down six rebounds.
Colvin led the Bulldogs with 25 points, while Deonta Stocks added 19, before fouling out with 2:03 left in overtime.
In the girls game, Niecy Lewis scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the first half and Sasha Simmons added 17 points, despite going 8-of-18 from the foul line in the Lady Raiders' victory.
Sherina Johnson led Riverdale on the boards, pulling down 10 rebounds.
The two teams traded leads eight times and there were 10 ties, but Riverdale (3-2, 2-0) was able to win the battle at the free-throw line. The Lady Raiders were 27-of-48 at the line, while Lithonia was 10-of-26.
The Lady Bulldogs led 51-43 on a Corrissa Deadwyler layup with 3:52 remaining, but the Lady Raiders went on a 11-1 run to take a 54-52 lead after Lewis sank a pair of free throws with 1:01 remaining.
Lithonia grabbed a one-point advantage on a putback by Shania Williams, but Riverdale scored the final four points and survived a shot by Williams at the buzzer.
Cashondra Sanders paced the Lady Bulldogs (1-1, 1-1) with 12 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 5:41 remaining. Williams added 10 points.
Riverdale travels today to East Hall.