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Young Rebels down LHS

By RYAN ARENA
L’Observateur

RESERVE — Riverside girls basketball coach Kathy Luke said scoring in transition is a point of emphasis every day for the Rebels, and Thursday night her team showed exactly how adept it has become in that area — with its star freshman guard leading the way.  

Ja’Keyra Gautreaux scored a game-high 26 points as Riverside rolled past visiting Lutcher, 74-50, in non-district action for its second victory this week.

Gautreaux frequently leaked out ahead of the Lutcher defense to score easy buckets, including a pair of back-to-back second quarter baskets that helped the Rebels establish some breathing room. She also did strong work in the post and on the drive, flashing a well-rounded game.

“Ja’Keyra can take over a game at any time,” Luke said. “Her ability to handle the ball along with her size makes her a mismatch. Her decision-making is improving, and something we continually work on. What I’m happy with is that she continually is getting better.”

Gautreaux said the Rebels came together at halftime and focused on putting things away in the third quarter.

“We felt like we let down a little in the first half, and we had to tell each other, ‘Keep going,’” she said. “We have to go out and do what we do best.”

Dannecia Nora finished with 22 points at center for Riverside, controlling the backboards throughout the game.

Luke said her freshman center is getting healthier after fighting through a brief slump recently.

“She’s getting her confidence back,” Luke said. “She’s a work in progress. I love coaching the post, and she’s not quite where I want her to be just yet. But she’s giving 100 percent effort, and when she does that, she does some really good things for us.”

Kennedy White scored nine points and Briley Becker added seven for RA.

For Lutcher, Chelsea Cola and Jaynice Augillard each scored 15.

Riverside led 22-17 when Gautreaux scored consecutive fast break baskets to give her team a lift, answering a 3-point play by Lutcher’s Brooks. Becker scored on a layup next, then White scored a quick four points at the line and off a steal and layup. Jennifer LeGeaux added two free throws and RA led 35-17, capping a 14-0 run.

Lutcher pulled within nine early in the third quarter on putbacks by Cola and Brooks. Gautreaux answered with a pull-up jumper, then Nora began to impose her will inside. She scored Riverside’s next three baskets in the post, adding a foul and free throw on the last to make it 45-28.

“She makes it easier for me, easier for all of us,” Gautreaux said of Nora. “We didn’t have that same kind of presence inside last year.”

Becker sank a 3 from the corner to answer a Augillard 3, and the Rebels never looked back.

Despite a freshman-heavy rotation and just one senior starter — White — Riverside finds itself in serious contention, boasting a 14-5 overall record.

Earlier this week, RA bested St. James in the district opener for both teams. White scored 16 to lead Riverside. Becker and Gautreaux each added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Nora scored six points and grabbed 14 rebounds.