Rebels off to strong start, win opener

Published 2:39 am Saturday, December 7, 2013


LAPLACE – Riverside basketball coach Timmy Byrd said that his team isn’t quite in basketball shape yet. If that’s the case, the rest of the state needs to look out, because the defending Class 2A state champions impressed on Monday.
The Rebels scored 53 second half points en route to turning a seven-point halftime lead into an eventual 83-49 blowout of previously undefeated Independence in Reserve.
Herb McGee and Joe Anderson each scored 16 to lead the Rebels offensively. Anderson led Riverside in rebounding with 8. Von Julien scored 13, Malik Crowfield 12 and Curtis Thomas 11.
“I thought we came out tight, particularly our shooters,” said Byrd. “We didn’t shoot well from 3 in the first half. But we made some explosive plays in the second half that our entire team fed off of. Some big dunks by Joe and Jordan (Andrews) gave us a spark.”
Defense got Riverside cranked up in the third quarter. Andrews logged three steals in the period and McGee two more, giving the home crowd a show in transition by their ‘Running’ Rebels.
RA (1-0) outscored Independence 23-10 in the third quarter and then 30-15 in the fourth. It trailed 12-11 after the first quarter, but took a 30-23 lead into halftime.
Keylon Spears scored 16 to lead Independence (5-1). Reggie Maryland added 12.
“Overall, I thought we played a lot better than I anticipated we would against a team that came in 5-0,” said Byrd. “I was very pleased with how we shared the ball. We played unselfishly.”
Defensively, he said some things improved from the first half — keeping Independence ball-handlers in front defensively, he said, was much better in the second half.
Byrd also noted an “aggressive” second quarter effort from Crowfield kept the Rebels ahead when things weren’t flowing.
Anderson made his first career start at center as he saw his first action as a Rebel.
“It’s exciting to see how he’s progressed. He blocked three shots, had some really exciting dunks. He’s showing that he’s a nice addition,” said Byrd.
Deuce Wallace is sitting out to recover further from the broken leg he suffered during football season. Once he returns, Byrd said the Rebels will be able to use the type of lineups it used a season ago with shooters spreading the floor at the four and five.