Riverside becomes basketball legend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It wasn’t all that long ago Riverside was considered to be anything but a basketball school.
Today, you could make an argument that as far as Louisiana goes, they’re “the” basketball school. That’s what comes after a school can boast its third state basketball crown in four years, just as Riverside can after its boys defeated St. Thomas Aquinas 60-49 in Saturday’s Class 2A state championship game. Riverside has been to four consecutive state finals now, having never finished short of that final game since Timmy Byrd arrived as athletic director and head boys basketball coach in 2009.
The win represented a stellar milestone for Byrd: a 10th state championship victory, all coming while coaching in Reserve (the first seven came while at Reserve Christian before the high school closed its doors in 2009). Byrd said after Saturday’s win that he didn’t expect to be coaching for 10 years, let alone to win 10 championships. But over the last decade-plus, Byrd has ensured that our region is always clearly on the radar of those discussing factors in the hunt for state titles.
This year’s team was Byrd’s youngest to win a state crown, and likely one of the youngest ever to win one. Riverside boasts just one senior and a roster full of freshmen and sophomores, four of which start and just about all of which boast a game advanced beyond their years.
West St. John also certainly deserves our recognition for their accomplishments this season. The Rams fell just short in Thursday’s state championship game, falling by a heartbreaking 62-60 score to Vermilion Catholic. But the West St. John girls set a new high bar for their program and then some, finishing 31-2 and setting new team records across the board.
L’Observateur gives a very well-deserved congratulations to both teams for highlighting a tremendous and extremely memorable basketball season for all of us.