Riverside earns repeat, clinches 2A crown

Published 8:49 pm Saturday, March 15, 2014


LAKE CHARLES – Chants of “Three-peat! Three-peat!” rained down from the Riverside fans in attendance at Saturday night’s Class 2A championship game between their Rebels and Lakeview.

For the Rebels, that’s what’s next on the agenda. 

Riverside (34-3) clinched its second consecutive state championship and its 4th crown in five years, outscoring Lakeview 25-14 in the fourth quarter to seal up an 88-75 victory.

Malik Crowfield was named the championship game’s MVP on a night that saw the sophomore guard score a game-high 35 points to go along with 12 rebounds, three steals and four assists.

“I was feeling it,” said Crowfield. “I had a great feeling early today and I just had to come out and do it.”

The 13-point final margin belies the game’s back-and-forth nature. The second half saw six lead changes and eight ties while Lakeview (28-5) led for much of the first half.

“That was a heavyweight fight,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd, who captures his 11th state basketball championship as a head coach. “Our kids played their hearts and guts out.”

With five minutes left, Riverside led 70-68 and the Rebels spread the floor, forcing the bigger Gators to come out and guard them. From that point, RA outscored LHS 18-7, including two key 3-point plays by Herb McGee off of drives to the basket. Those made it 75-70 and 79-71 respectively, giving RA complete control with just over a minute remaining.

Lakeview had the upper hand early, taking a 20-14 lead after one quarter. RA point guard Von Julien was whistled for two offensive fouls on drives to the basket and sat for all but 38 seconds of the second quarter. Riverside forward Jordan Andrews also had to sit with foul trouble.

But Crowfield took over offensively to keep the Rebels in the game, canning four 3-pointers and scoring 22 first half points.

“I was mad when Von had to sit,” said Crowfield. “Herb and I took it on ourselves to step up and score.”

McGee finished with 18 points for Riverside. Julien scored 13 points and dished nine assists while Andrews scored 13 and notched a team-high four steals.

Tay Hardy scored a team-high 15 points for Lakeview. Jerald Bush and Tray Kirkendoll each scored 13 and Cameron Pottain scored 12.

Riverside outrebounded Lakeview 34-30 in the game.

“That was the key stat,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd. “I told our guys that if we beat them or matched them on the boards, that we could win without shooting it well.”

The Rebels finish on a 27-game winning streak. The team went 10-1 against teams that qualified for the Top 28 tournament this season.