Reserve Christian plays for state championship

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

Eagles to take on Glenmora for third state title in four years


Sports Editor

LAFAYETTE-Everyone expected them to be here, but it is still an accomplishment to achieve the goal that you set out before the season has started.

With their 74-60 defeat of Anacoco on Wednesday afternoon, the Reserve Christian boys basketball team will try to win their third state championship in four years this afternoon when they take on Glenmora (34-12) at 12:30 in the Cajundome for the Class B title.

Expected to be a typical blowout win for the Eagles, Anacoco provided Reserve Christian with a stiff unexpected challenge.

Up only 17-12 after the first quarter, the Eagles held only a two-point lead at the half.

However, as they have the entire season, Reserve Christian stepped it up when they needed to the most and outscored the Indians 17-10 in the third quarter to begin to pull away and come away with the double-digit victory.

As he has throughout the season, junior all-everything guard Demond Carter led the Eagles with a game-high 32 points.

While Carter provided the outside threat for Reserve Christian, Kevin Branch was a dominating interior presence, scoring 22 points.

A powerhouse in their own right, Eagles Head Coach Tim Byrd said Glenmora will provide a stiff challenge for his squad.

“They are definitely a good program,” Byrd said of Glenmora. “In the last 10 years, they have really had a solid program. Someone told me that they beat DeRidder and if they beat a team the caliber of DeRiddder, they are a really good team.

“The good thing about them is that they play the style of basketball that suits us the best. They want to take the ball to the goal and they have a couple of guys that are really athletic and can shoot the three. They like to put pressure on you and extend their defense. We just have to play a good game against them. If we do, then we will be alright.”

With two of the best players in the state in Branch and Carter, Byrd said his team will be a tough opponent for anyone to beat this season.

“Kevin had a huge first half for us,” Byrd said. “Then Tweetie basically put the nail in the coffin against Anacoco. Both of them really carried us when our other guys really were not able to get much going.”

Going for yet another state championship, Byrd said he is excited for his kids and the chance to cement the school’s legacy as one of the best programs in the state.

“It’s satisfying because a lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance this year,” Byrd said. “Coming into the season I don’t think that a lot of people expected a whole lot out of us.

“They knew we had Tweetie and knew that we had Kevin, but they didn’t think that we had anything else. It’s satisfying to me because I know how hard our kids have worked and now they are getting rewarded for it.”

Reluctant to use the word dynasty when it comes to his team’s program, Byrd said the Eagles do have a chance to solidify themselves as a state power.

“It seems to be turning into that,” Byrd said. “I’ll let other people say that. We are just thankful that we are having the success that we are having. We just praise God for our success.

“All that we are going to continue to do is keep trying to be the best that we can be and not worry about what everybody else is.”

Byrd said while his team must execute well to come away with the victory against Glenmora, his team must also stop Glenmora from executing their own gameplan.

“We have to play better defense,” Byrd said. “We have to play better than we did the other night on the defensive end. We have to be really good on the defensive end in our man defense and we have to try to get a few easy baskets off turnovers.

“One of the things that we cannot do is let them beat us on the boards. Even though they don’t have a huge team, they are going to crash the boards and they have strong athletes. We are going to have to play good defense and keep them off of the boards.”