Late Rebel run comes up short against Gators

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sports Editor

A late push wasn’t enough for Riverside on Saturday, as the Rebels fell to South Terrebonne in the first round of the Riverside Holiday Classic, 71-55.

Riverside trailed by as many as 21 in the second half, but a 14-2 run over the third and fourth quarters cut the Gators’ lead to nine, 56-47 with 6:30 left in regulation.

But the Rebels could climb no closer than within eight, and South Terrebonne regained its consistency on the offensive end to put the Rebels away.

“We never showed up from the start,” said Riverside Coach Ben Wilson. “In the third and fourth we played pretty well. But it’s like I told them at halftime. This game is four quarters, not one or two. It’s always asking a lot to come back from 16 down at half.”

Central Lafourche won the tournament, topping Grand Isle 47-46 in the title game.

The Gators fell in the next round, and also in the tournament’s third place game to Southern Lab.

South Terrebonne’s Rondale Livas led the Gators with 24 points. Brett Voisin chipped in 10.

Josh Tassin led Riverside (2-14) with 19 points. Justin Newbauer added 13. Bobby Smith scored 12.

With Riverside cold from the field and South Terrebonne pushing the ball for easy baskets, the Gators pushed their lead to 54-33 in the third quarter.

Then, as cold as Riverside had been shooting the ball, it got just that hot. Tassin converted on a three-point play, then Smith nailed a jumper in the lane just as the third quarter ended.

Tassin struck again to begin the fourth quarter, converting a layup and drawing a foul to bank his second three-point play of the half. Two Livas free throws gave the Gators a 56-41 lead. But back to back 3-pointers by Tassin and Smith gave Riverside life.

With South Terrebonne leading 59-49, Tassin put back his own miss to cut the lead to eight, the closest the Rebels had been since it was 18-10 in the second quarter.

A jumper by Voisin pushed the lead back to 10. Smith drew a foul and made one-of-two free throws at the other end. But back-to-back baskets by the Gators on their next two possessions essentially sealed it – the second a Livas layup that came off of a steal, right after Riverside forced a turnover.

“It’s unforced turnovers and second half points. We force a mistake, and give it right back,” Wilson said. “Against a 5A school like this, we didn’t perform that badly. But it’s the little things that kill us, and if we could just cut those in half, we’d win a lot of these games.”

The Rebels split their remaining two games in the consolation bracket. Riverside defeated South Plaquemine 63-43 on Sunday to pick up their third win of the season.

Tassin led the Rebels with 17 points. Kane Keller scored 14. Smith chipped in 12.

Riverside built a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter, and the Hurricanes couldn’t recover.

On Monday, the Rebels fell in a close on to De La Salle, 55-49.

Keller scored 21 to lead Riverside. Smith scored 12.