Walker upends Rebs at Sugar Bowl

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012



WESTWEGO – O. Perry Walker’s moniker of “Chargers” was certainly appropriate Friday night, as it pulled off a shocker of a victory.

Rashad Ray’s deep 3-pointer as time ran down proved the game-winner as Walker defeated Riverside, 55-52, in the second round of the Sugar Bowl Prep Classic at the Alario Center.

O. Perry Walker finished as the tourney runner-up, falling to Douglass of Oklahoma City, 68-60.

“We didn’t shoot well at all,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd. “Walker played really well, but it came down to us shooting 2 for 13 from 3 and 18 of 38 at the foul line. We fell behind by 14 and our kids didn’t give up. I was proud of the effort. But we didn’t play particularly well and we shot very poorly.

Riverside trailed by four late but forward Donald Thomas led the way as the Rebels pushed to save its tourney hopes. His 3-pointer first drew RA within one, 51-50, then his short jumper tied things at 52 with 17 seconds left.

But it would only set up Ray’s heroics. He’d finish with 19 points to lead the Chargers.

Riverside saw big man Ricardo Gathers lead the way with 20 points. Thomas finished with 16, while Lucas Martin-Julien scored 10.

Walker led by as many as nine in the final quarter.

The Rebels won their first round and consolation game contests to finish third at the Sugar Bowl tourney.

First, Riverside downed Wenonah of Alabama, 74-61, on Thursday.

Gathers scored 24 and Thomas scored 20. Riverside led by a significant margin throughout the game against a Wenonah team that stands as Alabama’s two-time defending 5A champion.

The consolation game pitted two district rivals in something of a preview of their first 10-2A matchup this week, as Riverside defeated John Curtis, 69-51.

Martin-Julien led the Rebels with 17 points. Thomas had 14. Gathers and Zelvin Smith each scored 10.

Riverside trailed 17-12 after the first quarter and fell behind by as many as 14, but the Rebels clawed back to tie the game at 32 going into halftime. In the second half, Riverside took an early 11 point advantage and never looked back.

Curtis’ LSU commitment, Malik Morgan, missed the game with an ankle injury.

Riverside and Curtis, the 1 and 2 ranked teams in 2A, were slated to meet Tuesday at Curtis in district play.

Byrd was disappointed in the loss to Walker, but said that the tournament itself is establishing itself as a success.

“We’re really happy with it,” said Byrd. “There was a good lineup of teams, a good atmosphere.

“I really think, based on the first two years, we’re going to see it really take off next season.”

Riverside stands at 22-7 overall.

The Lady Rebels, meanwhile, remain in the hunt for an automatic playoff berth in District 10-2A after dominating wins over district foes Adep and Clark.

Against Adep on Monday night, Riverside took a 52-14 win, one all but established after the Rebels outscored Adep 20-0 in the opening quarter.

Kelsey Joseph led the Rebels with 14 points. Monet Moses scored 11 and Toni Hebert and Jamie Bolden each scored 10.

Things weren’t much different in Riverside’s 80-29 win over Clark, one the Rebels led 45-12 at halftime.

Hebert and Bolden each scored 17. Channan Simmons scored 14 and Kelsey Joseph added 10.

The Rebels did fall to a perennial contender in Ellender, 71-46. Simmons scored 19. Joseph scored 12 and Hebert scored 10.

Riverside is now 8-13 overall and 5-2 in district.

RA will host Haynes Thursday in a key matchup for playoff positioning.