Rebels win district outright, beat St. James
Published 11:45 pm Friday, February 21, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — Malik Crowfield’s 24 points led the way for defending 2A champion Riverside Tuesday as it clinched the outright District 10-2A championship via a 90-61 victory at St. James.
The Wildcats could have secured a co-championship with the Rebels were they to win. St. James is 7-2 in its last nine games, both losses coming to Riverside.
Riverside extended its winning streak to 22 games and is a virtual lock to earn the top seed in the Class 2A playoffs. The Rebels were scheduled to wrap their regular season up at Carver Friday night.
Jared Butler and Jordan Andrews each scored 14 for Riverside (27-3, 9-0). Herb McGee added 11.
Jason Favorite scored 22 to lead St. James (16-12, 7-2). D’Kwan Sandolph added 11.
The two teams previously matched up on Jan. 31, a night that saw RA capture a 81-69 victory.
Byrd said that the Wildcats impressed him that night and that the Rebels were ready for a battle Tuesday.
“It was a game, despite the final score,” said Byrd. “They made us compete. I thought we were a little better prepared this time after facing them and seeing them on film.”
Butler has received more playing time of late and has made an impact. Only an 8th grader, Byrd cited Butler’s sweet shooting and deft passing as reasons he’s cracked the rotation at such a young age — and noted an injury as the only reason he hadn’t done it sooner.
“Early in the season, he impressed me with his level of maturity and his understanding of how to play with these guys,” said Byrd. “He’s a great shooter with deep range, and when he’s out there we go from a very good shooting team to a great shooting team. He also doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.’
“He had a hip injury earlier this year and that’s why he didn’t get to play much with the varsity. But we’re glad to have him now.”
It was the third game in the last four that the Rebels have scored 88 points or more.
“Our kids are playing extremely unselfish basketball,” said Byrd. “They have a good feeling for one another now and especially for what’s a good shot for each guy. I think they’ve turned the intensity up a notch as well.”