TWO DOWN, THREE TO GO
Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
Through two playoff rounds, defending Class C champion Reserve Christian has been nothing short of dominant.
The latest example came on Tuesday night, as the Eagles quickly dispatched of visiting Singer 110-40 at the Eagle’s Nest.
Reserve advanced to the state quarterfinal round, to face No. 23 seed Dubach, who upset No. 7 Sicily Island 61-60 in overtime in the regional round.
Much like in the Eagles’ bi-district win over Starkey, Reserve left its opposition in the dust after a quarter of play, taking a 31-7 lead and never looking back.
Reserve Coach Timmy Byrd says that focus is what he looks for from his team during these early round games, and he has not been disappointed.
“The big thing is we’re asking these kids to play hard throughout. You don’t want anyone to sneak up on you,” said Byrd. “Our pre-district schedule tends to over-prepare us for our classification.”
Reserve’s Chris Roussell, who scored 19 on Tuesday night, echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“We just need to not slack off. You want to keep going at teams,” said Roussell. “You have to take care of business and move on.”
Cedric Jenkins scored a game high 23 points for the Eagles (36-9). Lucas Martin scored 17. Eddren McCain added 14 and Matt Cali notched nine.
The beginning of the game represented the fastest start possible for the Eagles. Jenkins hit a 3-pointer and drew a foul in the process. He missed the foul shot, but gathered the rebound and put it back for effectively a five-point possession.
Singer’s (19-21) Matt Eddleman hit a 3 on the other end to draw his team within 2. That would be as close as Singer would be for the rest of the night.
Jenkins hit another shot to make it 7-3, and in doing so ignited a 15-0 run that included baskets by McCain, Roussell and Kyle McClue.
Singer’s Ramsey Pickering scored to break up the run, but an 11-0 run followed immediately for Reserve, this time headed by Jenkins, Martin, Roussell and Cali.
“When you get up big like that, it tends to crush the will of the other team early,” said Byrd.
Reserve would outscore Singer 22-10 in the second quarter, 35-12 in the third and 22-11 in the fourth.
Charles Perkins led Singer with 16 points.
Roussell said that for his team to reach its ultimate goal of a repeat, it must continue to do as it’s done in the first two games, as the games get tougher.
“We have to play not just physically strong, but also mentally strong to advance,” Roussell said.