Julien scores 24, leads Rebels over Salmen

Published 1:31 pm Friday, February 7, 2014


LAPLACE — As always seems to be the case, Riverside and Salmen were locked up in a close game midway through the second half Tuesday night, the stage set perfectly for one of the numerous playmakers on the floor to emerge and put his stamp on the night.

Perhaps fittingly, the reigning Class 2A Player of the Year was up to the challenge.

Julien scored a game-high 24 points and fueled a key 14-0 second half run that gave Riverside the lead for good in a 73-69 non-district victory in Reserve. 

It was Riverside’s 17th consecutive victory. 

Salmen (16-7) overcame what was a 12-point Riverside (22-3) lead to take a 55-50 advantage, but then Julien went to work. He answered a Jordan Pitts 3 by immediately scoring and drawing a foul at the other end, letting loose an emotional howl as the ball passed through the net. 

It seemed to ignite his team. Julien made the free throw, then the Rebels got a stop. Malik Crowfield scored on a put back to tie the game at 55 with 1:05 left in the third quarter. With 10.9 seconds left in the period, Julien stole a Spartans’ inbounds pass, then set up Curtis Thomas for a layup to put RA ahead by two.

Julien nailed a corner 3 to begin the fourth, making it 60-55. Herb McGee earned a trip to the line after Crowfield spotted him wide open underneath the goal — McGee sank both free throws.  Finally, a Julien layup capped the 14-0 run, putting RA ahead 64-55. Riverside never relinquished control from there, Salmen only getting as close as the four-point final margin.

The Rebels locked in on defense. For an eight minute span — the final two minutes of the third quarter and the first six of the fourth — Riverside allowed Salmen just four points. 

“We just hustled,” said Julien. “When we play defense, that opens up our offense.”

Said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd, “Our kids decided that it was game time and it was time to win. We won this game based on our defense tonight. It wasn’t our offense.”

Corey Vinson led Salmen with 22 points. Chris Vickers added 14 and Pitts scored 12. 

For Riverside, McGee scored 18 and Crowfield added 17. 

The Rebels surged out to a 34-22 lead early in part behind some hot shooting from McGee, who hit three first-half 3-pointers and converted another and-one three-point play. 

“Herb got us started by shooting really well, then Malik and Von brought us home,” said Byrd. 

Salmen closed the gap quickly though going into the half, finishing the second quarter on a 9-0 run and trailing just 35-33 going into the break. Two Vinson 3’s to kick off the third quarter extended the run to 15-0; he scored 11 points in the run and Salmen led 39-35. 

“We weren’t playing hard enough. We were really sluggish to begin the second half,” said Julien. “After awhile, I think we got comfortable and played like it instead of putting them away.”

Salmen coach Jay Carlin said that his team has come a long way since the beginning of the new year.

He credited a furious Riverside full-court press as being the difference maker.

“They got into that press and all of a sudden we’re down five or six,” said Carlin. “It disrupted our rhythm. That’s what beat us.”

“I don’t know that we could have gone toe to toe with these guys a month ago,” he said. “We learned a lot about our team in January. Even in defeat, I feel like you can see us getting better.”

Riverside and Salmen have played annually in recent years and have had a history of close games. In 2011, the Rebels beat Salmen in overtime. In 2012, Salmen handed Riverside a rare home loss and in 2013, the Rebels returned the favor, Herb McGee’s game-winner lifting Riverside to a win at Salmen. 

“It’s become something of a rivalry,” said Byrd. “There’s a lot of pride between these teams and it looks like just about every game between us is destined to be close.”



RIVERSIDE 75, CARVER 52 — The Rebels improved to 5-0 in District 10-2A play via a lopsided Monday night victory over visiting Carver.

Malik Crowfield scored 33 points and pulled down a whopping 20 rebounds to lead Riverside in the win. Romalas Walker led Carver (8-11, 5-0) with 26 points. 


REBELS, WILDCATS TO LOCK UP — Riverside is set to face East St. John in a battle of local rivals at this weekend’s Hall of Fame showcase at Southeastern.

Tip off is set for 6 p.m. Saturday. The contest will be one of five games and will immediately follow another matchup between top contenders at Scotlandville and East Jefferson will play at 4:30 p.m. 

Riverside had won 17 consecutive games while East St. John were winners of 11 of its last 12 entering Friday night action.