Rebels ride fast start to best Hahnville

Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 3, 2014


LAPLACE – Riverside has played a schedule loaded with tough upper-classification foes early in its first season under veteran coach Kathy Luke.

And it seems the Rebels have already learned plenty from it.

Riverside captured its fourth consecutive victory Thursday, advancing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl NationalPrep Classic girls basketball tournament via a 39-29 victory over Hahnville in an opening round game.

Toni Hebert scored a game-high 13 points while Kennedy White added 10 to pace the Rebels, who jumped out to a 14-4 lead after the first quarter and never trailed in the game.

The two teams matched up a year ago in this same tournament, with Hahnville taking the win there.

“We talked about what happened last year,” said Hebert. “This time we came out in the first quarter and forced some turnovers, pressed them, and it got us going.”

Riverside created distance early via a barrage of outside shots. RA nailed five first quarter 3-pointers and jumped out ahead 11-2 after an 8-0 spurt.

Hebert canned the first 3-pointer of the game from the top of the key, then White asserted herself, hitting consecutive 3-pointers before sinking a runner in the lane to push the lead to 11-2. Ja’Keyra Gauthreaux nailed her own 3 from the wing to make it a 14-4 lead.

“We wanted to start fast, have no turnovers early,” said White. “If we’re open, shoot the ball. We knew if we came out here and played together we had a chance to move on.”

Said Hebert, “They were pressing the middle more at the beginning and that gave us some outside) chances.”

The Rebels (7-6) led 28-21 in the fourth quarter when Hahnville (5-10) began to make a final push. Bailee Kaplan’s 3-pointer made it 30-24. Hebert came up with a big basket for the Rebels, following her own shot for a put-back to put RA ahead 33-24, but Asia Jupiter scored inside at the other end to cut it back to seven.

With just over a minute left, Kaplan scored off of an offensive rebound to make it 34-29. But Gauthreaux drew a foul and sank two free throws, then HHS’ Harley Morris missed a 3. Hahnville’s rally attempt was quelled for good when Channan Simmons made a steal and finished on a layup at the other end.

Hahnville trailed 22-16 at halftime. Morris, MacKenzie Thorning, Kaplan and Ru’Yana Bossier each scored for the Tigers as they cut into the Rebel lead.

White said that things are starting to click for she and her teammates.

“Coach told us in the beginning that she wasn’t too worried about the early schedule, and that it was more about how we’re playing ourselves,” said White.

“We didn’t have the confidence in one another to start off, but it’s there now.”

Said Luke, “It’s all new to them, a different system. They’re adjusting to it.’

I thought tonight, for the first time, we started fast.’

We’ve been getting outscored in the first quarter and in the fourth quarters, which tells me we’re not starting fast or finishing strong. We did a better job of that here.”