Rebels roll without Gathers, trounce Indians

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011



RESERVE – Few who have seen Riverside play would peg them as a one-man operation, even with returning Class 2A MVP and two time state championship MVP Ricardo Gathers leading the way.

On Monday night, though, the Rebels removed all doubt as to just how potent their lineup is from top to bottom.

With Gathers on the sideline, Donald Thomas scored 27 to lead Riverside to a 79-53 win over a Washington-Marion squad expected to make noise in Class 4A.

“We put forth a lot of effort defensively,” said Thomas. “We hustle just as we would with Ricardo out here.”

We’ve played such a tough schedule that our bench has truly developed,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd, who said Gathers had a minor knee issue and was held out in preparation for the upcoming Sugar Bowl Prep Classic tournament. “We’ve got more players than just Ricardo, and you saw that tonight.

“This was a really good win over a team a lot of people expect to accomplish some things.”

Louis Dabney scored 19 for the Rebels (13-4), while Trevin Woods scored 18.

Thomas got rolling early, scoring the first five points for the Rebels before Dabney and Lucas Martin got going. That duo combined to score the next nine points to put RA ahead 16-6.

Deshadrick Guidry kept the Indians afloat for a bit, answering with back to back baskets, the first coming on a pretty reverse layup.

But the Rebels countered with a barrage of threes as Thomas, Martin and Dabney each hit from downtown – Thomas twice — to help push the Rebels’ lead to 30-13. Thomas would then add a basket and a foul shot to make it 33-13.

Riverside led 48-27 at the half.

Washington-Marion (15-3) found a second wind and quickly counter-punched in the third quarter. A basket by Dominique Citizen made it 48-31. Tyler Freeman made a basket and Javandon Staves made two and all of a sudden, it was a 10-0 run and only an 11-point Rebel lead.

The Rebels called time out and regrouped. Zelvyn Smith made a basket, then Thomas made a 3. Smith and Woods each scored, then Thomas was fouled shooting a 3. He’d make three free throws to make it 61-43.

Thomas, who missed the first six games of the season with an injured hand, has heated up in recent games.

“I’m fully equipped again,” said Thomas.

Byrd said the Rebels simply had to regroup.

“We called timeout and stressed the importance of getting some defensive stops and keeping them out of the paint,” said Byrd. “Secondly, we wanted to take better shots and we did a little bit of a better job passing the ball after that.”

Riverside would lead 67-47 entering the fourth and completely slammed the door early in the final period, as Dabney’s step back jumper ignited a 9-0 run to make it a 76-49 lead.

RIVERSIDE 62, ST. LOUIS 42 – Byrd took one of his teams to the finals of the Sunkist Tournament last week for the first time ever, and his team ended things by adding its first championship with a win in the finals over St. Louis (12-3).

Gathers scored a game-high 26 and was named MVP of the tournament.

Zelvyn Smith — a Sunkist all tournament team selection — added 13 and Martin scored 11.

Riverside led 28-25 at half but pushed its lead to 12 after three quarters and kept things up from there.