Second quarter surge guides Rebels past ESJ

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 2010



RESERVE – East St. John was going nip and tuck with powerhouse Riverside early, and the Wildcats home crowd exploded when Chester Victor scored with 3:12 left in the first quarter to give ESJ an 11-9 lead.

But Riverside’s Louis Dabney was on fire.

Dabney scored the next three baskets and 11 straight points in all, including three 3-pointers, to lift the Rebels to a 17-11 lead. The Wildcats would never lead again. Riverside began the second quarter on a 12-0 run and went on to collect a convincing 83-54 win over their crosstown rivals.

Dabney scored a game high 26. Teammate Ricardo Gathers scored 24 and Zelvyn Smith added 13.

For East St. John, D’haquille Williams led the way with 13. Patrick Washington scored eight and Elex Carter added six.

Dabney’s first 3 of the opening quarter put his team ahead 9-7. Williams scored inside to tie the game for ESJ, then came Victor’s bucket. Dabney fired back with a 3-pointer to give the Rebels a one-point advantage. Dabney scored on a drive to put RA up by three, then canned another 3 to make it a six-point cushion for the Rebels.

Sean Thomas answered with a jumper at the other end for the Wildcats, but Gathers scored on a fallaway jumper to make it 19-13. ESJ’s LeBaron Sylvester cut the lead to four entering the second quarter.

“We gave up too many layups in the first quarter,” said Byrd. “Louis hit some big outside shots. Rico hit some from out there. It loosened them up. But our defense wasn’t where it needed to be yet.”

The Rebels (5-2) started to play their game – pressure defense and up-tempo offense. Dabney hit his fourth 3 of the night to make it a seven-point game. Then Lucas Martin hit a 3 to make it 25-15. He’d score again to make it a 12-point cushion. Gathers made two free throws and Dabney scored after that to cap a 12-0 run. Williams finally scored to halt the run, but Smith scored to start another 10-0 Rebel run. Riverside led 41-17 and the game was no longer in doubt.

“We made some nice passes and stopped playing so much one-on-one,” said Byrd.

It was another strong performance for Gathers, who Byrd has moved to the wing.

The coach said that his star has made a fine adjustment, but that there’s still room for improvement.

“He does have to recognize just how strong he is,” said Byrd. “Don’t just settle on the jumper. At this level, he’s dominant in the post. We just want to play him from the outside in, as opposed to inside-out.”