Rebels dominate 2nd half to beat Caddo

Published 11:45 pm Friday, March 14, 2014


LAPLACE — For a half, North Caddo kept its dreams alive of upsetting defending 2A champion Riverside.

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was over. 

Only 3:01 had elapsed in the third quarter when Riverside to extended what was a seven point halftime lead to 21 and it only got better from there for the RA, who outscored Caddo 35-2 in the frame en route to a 101-52 victory in a Top 28 tournament state semifinal game in Lake Charles Thursday. 

“We knew we could pull away from them if we play defense,” said Riverside point guard Von Julien, who scored 21 points while dishing out seven assists. “We did that and everyone’s running off steals, to the hole, getting open 3’s. We can do both.”

Riverside(33-3) will face Lakeview in Saturday’s Class 2A championship game, set for 6 p.m. 

The Rebels tied three Class 2A Top 28 tournament records Thursday, including marks for the most points in a half (65), fewest points allowed in a single quarter (2) and assists in a game (25). 

Malik Crowfield scored a game-high 26 points and hauled in seven rebounds. Von Julien scored 21 points while dishing out seven assists. Herb McGee scored 18 points, Jordan Andrews scored 13 and Joe Anderson added 12. 

Riverside shot 52 percent from the field while holding North Caddo to a 30 percent clip. Julien, McGee and Anderson combined to make 21 of 29 shots for 72 percent between them.

Robert Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward and Caddo’s top scoring threat, did not score until two free throws with 2:38 left in the first half, and did not make a field goal until the 6:22 mark of the third quarter. He finished with six points on 2-of-10 shooting. 

That was in large part due to the defense of McGee, who Byrd calls his best defensive player.

“I needed to stay on him. He’s always looking to shoot the ball,” said McGee. “When he had it, these guys (Crowfield and Julien) were helping out a lot, doubling.”

Julien wouldn’t let McGee deflect praise.

“He didn’t need our help,” said Julien. “He might be the best defensive player in the country.”

Much like Riverside did in its quarterfinal win over Sterlington, the Rebels jumped out to a double-digit lead right after tip-off, taking a quick 13-2 advantage. 

Caddo (12-19) fought back to pull within two late in the second quarter behind Jontaveon Brooks’ ability to get to the line. Caddo made 11 of 11 free throws in the first half, Brooks accounting for nine of those makes. The Rebels made a quick spurt before halftime to push the lead to 36-29. 

“We rushed our shots in the first half,” said Crowfield. “We started to find holes in their 2-3 zone after that.”

And that’s where the party truly started for Riverside, which turned in one of the most dominant quarters in Top 28 history. RA turned to a halfcourt trap and Caddo had no answers. 

Crowfield scored back to back baskets to start the quarter, including a 3, then Andrews followed suit by drilling one of his own from long range to make it 44-29. Robert Williams scored to answer for Caddo, but it was his team’s last bucket of the quarter. Another Crowfield 3 made it 48-31. Julien scored in transition, then McGee did the same to make it 52-31. 

A Riverside steal led to a emphatic two-handed jam by Julien, bringing the Rebel bench to its feet. Less than a minute later, McGee got in on the fun, throwing down a one-handed slam off of another Rebels steal. 

Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said it was the 6-foot-1-inch point guard’s first two-handed slam in a game.

“I always knew I had hops,” joked Julien with a broad smile. “I was just saving it for this.”

Back to back 3’s by Jared Butler and Deuce Wallace helped put an exclamation point on the run.

When the smoke cleared, Riverside had outscored North Caddo 44-4 from a McGee basket with 1:14 left in the first half to the end of the third quarter. 

“What can you say,” said North Caddo coach Ron Miekle. “They’re well prepared, deep, and man, can they shoot the ball  …We knew they were fast, but I don’t think we quite knew how fast they really are. It’s boom-boom-boom, they push it up and the ball barely touches the floor and they hit a 3. It’s hard to recover.”

Riverside forced 32 turnovers while committing just 14. 

It was the third time in four playoff games that Riverside has scored 100 points or more. 

“That tells me a lot about this group,” said Byrd. “I didn’t think we played well in the first half. When things aren’t going well, you don’t really see teams turn it around in that fashion. It speaks to how good these players are and how determined they are.”