Bria Neal leads RA to landmark playoff win

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

RESERVE — The No. 5 seed Lady Rebels celebrated a landmark 50-32 victory against No. 12 seed Catholic – New Iberia Monday night, propelling Riverside Academy to the LHSAA quarterfinals for the first time in more than a decade.

The first half of the game started off slow and left a lot to be desired, according the head coach Kevin Dizer, while the second half turnaround led to an inspiring outcome.

“I don’t know if it’s the first time in history that we’ve gone to the quarterfinals, but it’s certainly the first time in the past 15 years,” Dizer said, adding the victory was a landmark moment.

He attributed the win against Catholic – New Iberia to a top performance by junior Bria Neal, who had a “monster game” Monday night, culminating in 28 points and 17 rebounds.

Neal has been a powerhouse throughout the season, consistently averaging 16 points and five assists per game, according to Dizer.

Senior Briley Becker has also seen a successful season, averaging 13 rebounds and 4 assists per game.

The Lady Rebels had to reconfigure their strategy when star player Dannie Nora, leading scorer with 23 points per game, was sidelined by a torn ACL in December.

Dizer said the girls have stepped up and treated every game as a learning experience.

“I think the girls really understand what we’re trying to relay,” Dizer said.

“We played a very difficult schedule this season and never quit. Our biggest strength is we’ve played a lot of good teams with a lot of different styles. There’s a lot we can do on the court offensively and defensively.”

The Lady Rebels advance to a Thursday evening quarterfinal hosted by No. 4 seed Notre Dame.

Dizer said the girls look forward to going on the road to compete against Notre Dame, a team that boasts a 21-8 record and has a reputation of solid gameplay.

Rebels Playoff

The No. 1 seed Riverside Academy boys basketball team (31-1) achieved bi-district and regional byes and advanced to the LHSAA Division III quarterfinals.

The Running Rebels will play the winner of Tuesday’s game against Calvary Baptist and Notre Dame on March 2.