Joseph’s block preserves OT win for Rebels

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012



NEW ORLEANS — Riverside’s Kelsey Joseph saw her team about to let victory slip away Saturday. She refused to let it happen.

With 15.3 seconds remaining in the Cabrini Classic championship game and Riverside leading by one, E.D. White’s Michae Jones came up with a steal on a Rebels inbounds pass and made a beeline for the basket.

But Joseph chased down Jones from behind, swatting away what appeared to be an inevitable layup; the ball careened out of bounds off of Jones’ shoulder and Riverside went on to earn a 56-53 victory and the Cabrini Classic crown.

“I just thought, ‘This girl can’t make this. I can’t let her,’” said Joseph. “I timed it right.”

It was the second tournament that Riverside has won in the course of eight days. The Rebels won the St. Martin’s tournament the previous weekend.

After her game-saving block, Joseph sank two free throws with 5.1 seconds left to seal the final margin of victory.

The Rebels (11-1) won despite three players fouling out: Center Kendra Turner and point guard Channon Simmons each fouled out in the fourth quarter, while reserve forward Kennedy White bowed out in overtime.

“(Joseph) wouldn’t let us lose,” said Riverside coach Kristy Hebert. “She didn’t want that shot to happen at the end. I was proud of Kelsey and Toni (Hebert) for really taking charge when we needed them to.”

Turner earned MVP honors at the Cabrini tourney. She, Joseph and Toni Hebert earned All-Tournament team honors.

Turner and Hebert each scored 15 in the championship game to lead Riverside. Joseph scored 12 and Simmons added six.

Genna Larose scored 18 to lead the Cardinals (5-3). Emily Weimer scored 12 and Jones scored 11.

That left the leadership task to Joseph, a senior, and Hebert, a freshman who has started since her 7th grade season.

“Toni and I knew we had to step it up,” said Joseph.

E.D. White rallied from nine points down to begin the fourth quarter to force what became a tense overtime period.

A Jones free throw gave the Cardinals a 51-50 lead, but Riverside regained the advantage on a Jaimaya Bolden putback. Hebert drew a foul with 2:05 left and sank one-of-two at the line.

E.D. White cut their deficit to one after drawing a loose ball foul — Emily Sauce hit one of two free throws. She missed the second and the Cardinals secured the offensive rebound. Jones drew a foul and tied the game by making one of her two foul shots.

With 51.7 seconds left, Hebert pushed Riverside ahead with a free throw. Weimer missed a jumper at the other end and Riverside called timeout, setting up an inbounds play and Joseph’s fateful block.

The two teams were tied at halftime, 25-25.

E.D. White led 30-25 early in the third quarter. But Riverside rallied to take a 36-32 lead on back-to-back Hebert 3-pointers. The Rebels led by three with 50 seconds left in the quarter, then surged to a nine-point advantage; Simmons hit a runner, then fed Turner for a layup. Turner scored again on a putback to end the quarter and put RA ahead 45-36.

“We made the push. We knew we needed to, to try and take them out of their game,” said Kristy Hebert.

E.D. White sped up the game in the fourth, getting back into the game via its press and an ability to get to the line.

Center Jordan Gros figured prominently in the rally, scoring five points and dishing an assist in the frame before fouling out.

“Give credit to E.D. White … they played exceptional defense and put a lot of pressure on the ball,” said Kristy Hebert.

“I’m just proud of the way we fought through.”

The Rebels did not score in the fourth until Briley Becker nailed a go-ahead jumper with three minutes left, putting RA ahead 46-45 — Becker, an 8th grader, had just gotten into the game for the first time, entering after Simmons fouled out.

“Some of out younger ones came in and really helped us out today,” said Toni Hebert. “They picked us up when we needed it.”

Added Kristy Hebert, “For Briley to come in and make that shot just shows the confidence she has. She didn’t hesitate.”

The Rebels twice came up with buckets to tie, first on a Joseph runner, then on a Bolden put back. The latter came with 1:48 remaining, forcing overtime.

Riverside’s 11-1 start is the best in the history of the girls basketball program.

“This is a new beginning for us,” said Joseph.