Rebels beat Hornets in early showdown

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2014


RESERVE — Monday night featured a true showcase game on the basketball court, and Riverside took full advantage of the spotlight.

Malik Crowfield’s 19 points led Riverside in a 64-53 victory over visiting Scotlandville in a battle between teams that have played in the state championship game of their respective classifications in each of the past five years — it was the first time in the state’s history, Riverside coach Timmy Byrd believes, two teams boasting that distinction had matched up. The Rebels have won two consecutive Class 2A state titles and four in the past five seasons. Scotlandville was 5A runner-up last year and has banked two state crowns in that five-year span.

“We’ve asked around and nobody’s refuted it,” Byrd said. “I’m proud of my kids. We faced one of the top two or three programs in the state, and I thought we played with a lot of guts.”

Making the victory more impressive for the Rebels was it was only the second game of the season for Riverside (2-0), which began the season later than usual due to many of its players also competing on RA’s state semifinalist football squad. Scotlandville had 10 games under its belt and had won nine — it was fresh off a victory over defending Class 4A champion Landry-Walker and was seeking another win over a current state champ to add to its collection. Seven of Scotlandville’s nine wins have come over teams with winning records, with six coming by double figures.

“We knew against a team like that, with its scoring weapons, we’d have to grind it out on defense,” Byrd said. “And we knew we’d have to rebound. If we came out on the wrong end of the rebounding margin significantly, it was going to be a long night.”

Herb McGee scored 11 for Riverside, all coming in a first half that saw RA establish a lead for good. Von Julien scored eight. Jordan Andrews and Darrion Cook each scored seven.

McGee led a second quarter charge that gave the Rebels some breathing room, and he did it by relentlessly attacking the basket. He drove for a layup and drew the foul for an “and one” to make it 16-12. Then he scored another layup in transition to push the lead to six.

“We knew with the shooters we have I would be able to drive,” McGee said. “Coach just told me to get to the rim.”

Jordan Andrews followed with his own bucket “and one” to stretch the lead to nine. Joe Anderson flushed home a big two-handed dunk midway through the second to cement RA as the team with momentum, and Malik Crowfield ended the first half with a one-handed slam to give the Rebels a 33-22 halftime advantage.

Scotlandville forward Garrick Green kept the Hornets in the game. He scored four quick points to begin the third quarter and added a pair of putbacks later in the period. Joshua Roberts sank back-to-back 3-pointers, and Scotlandville kept within striking distance entering the fourth quarter, trailing 48-41.

The Rebels spread the court and got to the basket. Crowfield, Julien and Andrews each scored in the lane, Andrews scoring consecutive baskets to make it 56-49. The second Andrews basket came following a big play from Cook on the defensive end, who made a leaping save out of bounds to ignite a Rebels fast break.

“I thought Darrion was huge for us in the second half,” Byrd said.

A spin move and layup by Scotlandville’s LaMarcus Lee cut the Riverside advantage to five, 56-51, with 2:24 left. RA answered via a Julien layup assisted by Crowfield. Lee scored again at the other end, but Riverside was in control, and held Scotlandville scoreless for the final 1:36 of play.

The Rebels focused on limiting Scotlandville’s outside shooting, particularly Jordan Adebate, who finished with 17.

“We knew he was a good shooter, so we tried to limit the looks he had from the outside,” McGee said.

Last season, the Rebels lost to Scotlandville in a similar early-season situation, but Byrd was pleased to see his team turn the tables.

“We got in some foul trouble and we’ll need to get into better game shape,” Byrd said. “This was a really big win for us.

“We beat a great team by 11 in our second game, you have to be pleased.”