Eagles fly again, dominate Maurepas 99-43 in opener

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2008


Sports Editor

Reserve Christian seems to have picked up exactly where it left off last season — or any recent season, for that matter.

The defending Class C champion Eagles cruised to a 99-43 non-district victory at home over Maurepas (0-1) Monday night in Reserve’s opening game of the season.

Cedric Jenkins, voted the MVP of last season’s state championship game, led all scorers with 21 points. Ricardo Gathers scored 17. Ed Gallina scored 15, Louis Dabney scored 10, and Franklin Francois scored nine.

While Reserve Coach Timmy Byrd has overseen a number of state championship teams — six at Reserve, so far — he can’t help but be impressed at the group that took the floor on Monday.

“I’m really excited about this group,” he said. “I don’t know that we’ve had a group that’s worked as hard as this one has. And they’re extremely talented.”

Reserve (1-0) led 26-7 after a quarter and 53-14 at halftime. By the fourth quarter, the team’s reserves all had a chance to play — and all 11 members of the team scored.

That’s a big reason in itself for Byrd’s optimism — this team is very deep, something that may help offset the loss of Eddren McCain, who was selected as the Most Valuable Player in Class C last season.

Any time you lose a great player like Eddren, it is always a concern,” Byrd said. “But this team is much deeper, and we’ve got a lot more weapons.”

Those weapons will come in handy early on. Returning starter Kyle McClue, who has moved to point guard this season, broke his ankle last Friday and is expected to miss up to six weeks. The team, obviously, will have to cover his loss in different ways.

One way could be on defense. Byrd said that he was surprised at the play of his defense on Monday, particularly how quickly it has gelled.

“We’re much further along than I would have anticipated. I wasn’t expecting us to be so good defensively so early.”

He was also pleasantly surprised with his team’s offensive chemistry.

“I didn’t know how we’d share the ball,” Byrd said. “But our guys played unselfishly.”

Reserve also put on a high-flying act. Four players combined to slam home 10 dunks in the game.

That fact was aided in no small part by how much height the team has accumulated. Two years ago, Reserve did not have a starter 6’0 or above. Now, all five are at least 6’0, including newcomers in 6’5 junior guard Ed Gallina and 6’6 freshman center Ricardo Gathers.

“We have a lot of guys,” Byrd says, “who play above the rim.”