RA Rebels race past Cougars

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2011



Riverside had one final tuneup Thursday before departing for the nationally renowned City of the Palms tournament in Florida, and it was a fairly important one; for the Rebels, it was one last chance to recalibrate after the loss of Louis Dabney to a torn ACL in late November.

It came against the Karr Cougars and Riverside wasted little time asserting its dominance, moving to 8-1 with a 92-50 win at home.

Riverside (8-1) led 23-16 after the first quarter, but Riverside began the second on an 18-1 run to all but slam the door on Karr (0-9), which was still missing some of its players that play on the football team.

But it would be hard to imagine those combining for a 40-plus point swing, especially not when the Rebels were able to make their push via an all out assault on the paint. While Karr surrounded Ricardo Gathers with defenders early, frontcourt mate Zelvin Smith took advantage, slapping up an 18 point effort to compliment Gathers’ game-high 26.

“We ran a couple of plays and got some looks inside,” said Smith. “We were unselfish with the ball. We rebounded really well in the first quarter and that helped push us ahead.”

Said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd, “We attacked the middle with our other big man, Zelvin and made some things happen that way.”

Riverside led 54-21 at halftime. The Rebels pressing and trapping was highly effective, shutting Karr’s offense down and leading to some scoring opportunities; by quarter’s end, the Rebels had outscored the Cougars 31-5.

Karr led 9-6 in the first quarter after a layup by Anthony Jones. Riverside tied things up, then took the lead on a pair of Smith free throws. Karr regained the advantage on two free throws by Darius Danner, but after Smith scored again at the other end, the Rebels wouldn’t trail. He drew another foul and hit two free throws. Then Smith assisted Donald Thomas on a basket and Riverside was off to the races.

John Lewis was fouled shooting a 3 and sank all of his shots for a 19-11 advantage. Gathers slammed home his first points late in the first quarter to make it 21-11.

Danner hit a 3 to stem the bleeding at the end of the first, but it wasn’t enough. Von Julien scored on a put back to make it 25-16. Gathers scored on an inside move and then a putback. He hit two free throws to make it 30-17. Smith scored inside, then Gathers hit a turnaround jumper with 4:19 left in the half to make it 35-17.

Julien scored twice more off of steals, then Gathers slammed another home off of a Lucas Martin steal and assist to make it 41-17.

By the time Donald Thomas hit an outside shot for three of his 14 points, capping the first half, the Rebels had all but assured themselves of a comfortable victory.

“It was a good run (in the second quarter,” said Byrd.

“We wanted to work on some things and some set plays for Rico, and work on our defense a little bit. We still have to do a better job of ball denial. But we got a little work in there.”

Riverside defeated Carver and McCoy in a pair of previous victories, helping to extend the Rebels’ win streak to five.

The Rebels downed Carver in their district opener Monday night, 114-43. Gathers scored 18, and Julien and Donald Thomas each scored 11. Malik Crowfield scored 10.

Riverside also downed McCoy in a non-district game, 85-43. Gathers scored 25 to lead all scorers. Thomas scored 12, Smith 11 and Martin 10.