Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 20, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
It’s been a busy week for Reserve Christian, as the Eagles prepare for its postseason Class C title defense.
Last Monday, the Eagles clinched a district title for the ninth time in ten years by defeating District 10-C rival Phoenix, 77-53.
On Saturday, Christian Life, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1A, avenged an early season loss to the Eagles by answering with a 73-65 victory at Christian Life.
Finally, Country Day, the No. 9 team in Class 1A, came to the Eagles’ Nest trying to spoil the team’s senior night as well as its undefeated record at home this season. It was unsuccessful on both counts, as Reserve emerged a 78-68 winner at Reserve Christian.
“This was a very important win for us,” said Reserve Coach Timmy Byrd. “We had to get that taste from the Christian Life loss out of our mouth. We can go into the playoffs on a good note.”
Reserve will host its bi-district playoff game at 7 p.m. on Friday night. Its opponent will be determined today.
A balanced scoring effort lifted the Eagles to victory. Cedric Jenkins led the way with 20 points. Chris Roussell scored 16. Kyle McClue scored ten, and Lucas Martin and senior Matt Cali each added eight.
Senior Eddren McCain notched a triple double, scoring 16 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 17 assists in his final regular season home game.
McCain is now averaging a triple double for the season.
“He had another spectacular night,” Byrd said.
Reserve (34-9, 6-0) had to weather the storm generated by the Cajuns’ Eddie Ludwig, a 6’8 post player who scored 33 points to lead all scorers. Ludwig was a duel threat who did his damage in the paint and from beyond the 3-point arc.
“He’s really good. He’s one that’ll play at the next level,” said Byrd.
The game’s start signaled the type of first half it would be, as Jenkins and Country Day’s Jack Baus hit dueling 3-pointers to begin the game.
Reserve led 20-16 after a quarter, but Country Day rallied to take a 35-34 lead after Ludwig drew a foul and made two free throws at the end of the first half.
But the second half belonged to Reserve. Jenkins started the second half like he did the first, hitting a 3 to put his team back on top. It kick started a 10-3 run to begin the half, giving the Eagles a 44-38 advantage.
Reserve led 54-46 at the end of the third. After Baus scored for Country Day to begin the fourth, the Reserve defense dug in. The Eagles scored the next nine points, including buckets by Jenkins, Roussell and McCain, pushing their lead to 15. Country Day wouldn’t get closer than eight the rest of the way.
“Our intensity was really good in the third quarter,” said McCain. “We were flat in the first half, and they’ve got a good team. Our effort was better in the second half.”
“We played defense, and tried to have a killer instinct at the end,” said Cali. “We had to go into the playoffs with a good win.”
Byrd said that his team’s intensity wasn’t there against Christian Life on Saturday. Reserve ran out to a 19-4 lead early in the game.
But after that, Byrd said he felt his team might have taken things for granted.
“We played so well against Phoenix (on Monday) that it may have worked against us mentally,” he said. “Before we knew it, they were right back in it.”
Christian Life (35-2) cut the Reserve lead to five by halftime, 35-30, then outscored the Eagles 24-12 in the third quarter to take control.
“In the second quarter, our defensive intensity started going downward. It gave them life,” Byrd said.
The Crusaders led by seven entering the fourth quarter. Reserve cut the lead to three with 30 seconds left, but could draw no closer.
Langston Galloway led CLA with 17 points.
McCain scored 17 to lead the Eagles. McClue added 15, and Roussell scored 13.
McCain scored 28 to lead the Eagles in their win over Phoenix.
McClue scored 14 and Jenkins scored 13.
Reserve led 22-10 after the first quarter and never looked back, completing an undefeated district season.
“I’m proud of the kids. They had energy, and maintained their intensity throughout the game,” said Byrd.