Reserve Christian captures state title

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Carter scores 35 as Eagles capture third Class B title in four years against Glenmora


Sports Editor

LAFAYETTE-It’s how every team wants to end their season.

Win the last game.

Reserve Christian did that, beating Glenmora, 83-66, to capture the Class B state championship Saturday afternoon in the Cajundome in Lafayette.

Demond “Tweetie” Carter led all scorers with 35 points. Kevin Branch had 17 points and in his final game in a Eagle uniform, senior guard Demetruis Akseheroglon had 12 points.

The defeat of Glenmora caps off a magnificent season for Reserve Christian. Playing one of the toughest schedules in America, the Eagles finished the 2004-05 season with a 37-13 record.

“I think the big thing was that we were not able to do this last season,” an excited Reserve Head Coach Tim Byrd said. “It was satisfying to actually get there and complete our season without a loss at the end.

“We did not want to send our seniors out on a losing note and to avoid that pit in your stomach when you lose your last game for our returning players.”

Unable to compete for a title last year, Byrd said he didn’t use it as motivation, but the players kept it in the back of their minds.

“We didn’t talk a whole lot about it,” Byrd said. “The reason that we didn’t talk about it is because winning our state championship is not our only goal heading into a season.

“We are fortunate enough to play a national schedule with four or five national tournaments. Our kids are looking at the picture of competing for a national championship and next year that is what our kids are going to be thinking.”

Jumping out to an early 21-12 lead after the first quarter, they Eagles built a lead that they never looked back on.

“I think our defensive strategy was pretty good,” Byrd said. “We were able to play one foot outside of the 3-point line. We focused on not letting their guards get to the goal and get open shots. We limited their opportunities and our defense was really good in the first quarter.

“We beat a really good team in Glenmora. They beat DeRidder on Mardi Gras, so that shows you how good of a team that they are. They beat a final four 4A team so for us to beat them the way that we did, I was really pleased with it.”

Capturing their third state championship in four seasons, Byrd was reluctant to say that Glenmora was intimidated, but recognized the fact that many of the Eagles opponents this season may have felt lucky just to stay close in their match-ups.

“We don’t identify with that because we don’t think that way,” Byrd said. “I didn’t think that until this season. Every time I read the paper now and see the opposing coaches comments after we play, that seems to be the theme.

“Their kids were excited about playing Reserve and it was almost like a moral victory to play us close. I guess in a sense, that is what it seems to be about with some of the teams that we play. I think we do have an advantage now going up against some of these teams as far as us being the big dogs and trying to knock us off.”

As they have been all season, Byrd said the inside-outside threat of sophomore Kevin Branch and Carter was the difference in the game.

“Kevin had a double double in each game in Lafayette,” Byrd said. “He really was big for us in the first half of both games. He really played well.

“Then Tweetie started off slow in the state championship game, but he has the unique ability to not let his play get him down. He was able to turn it around in the second quarter and have a big game for us.”