Suffocating defense keys two Eagle wins

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2008


Sports Editor

Reserve Christian Coach Timmy Byrd has often noted how impressed he’s been at how well his Eagles have gelled defensively so early in this season.

After Thursday night, the team may have already exceeded the veteran coach’s newly set expectations.

Reserve allowed three points or less in three quarters on Thursday as the Eagles rolled to an 87-21 non-district win at home over Jehovah Jireh.

Reserve brought a balanced attack offensively. Ed Gallina led all scorers with 23 points. Ricardo Gathers scored 20 and Chris Roussell added 15.

Cedric Jenkins, long known for his explosiveness offensively, scored nine, but added eight assists and eight steals in the win.

The MVP of the Class C championship game a year ago, Jenkins is immersed in a new role early this season — he is now the team’s starting point guard, filling in for the injured Kyle McClue.

“He’s running the show,” said Byrd.

Byrd said that Jenkins has shown a great deal as the main playmaker.

“I’m really pleased with how he’s running the team,” said Byrd. “He’s distributing the ball well, getting everyone involved. He’s managing the game real well.”

His eight steals highlighted the team’s defensive effort, one Byrd described as “magnificent.” Reserve (3-0) led Jehovah (3-1) 28-3 after a quarter, and 47-15 at the half. But the Eagles allowed a mere five second half points.

“They’re doing a great job moving their feet, playing help side defense, showing quick hands,” said Byrd. “(Jehovah) has a solid team. The score doesn’t really indicate how good they are. But our defense made it very hard on them to find good shots.”

It was the second win of the week for RCS. The first came Tuesday, as the Eagles blasted district competitor First Baptist-Slidell 106-29 at Reserve.

Five Eagles scored in double figures. Roussell led the way with 16. Derek Taylor scored 15. Gathers added 13, and Kalen Jenkins and Louis Dabney scored 10.

Jay Fredericks scored 11 to lead First Baptist.

“We were able to get our young guys a lot of minutes,” said Byrd. “I thought they played real well. Tre Johnson, Donald Thomas, T.J. Scott and Kalen Jenkins all scored six or more, and all are freshman aside from T.J. He’s a sophomore.”

Byrd said it’s imperative to get the younger players experience early in the year.

“It’s a definite help. You want to get the newer guys as much experience as possible,” he said.