Lady Rebels shoot for title game appearance

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

(Update: Riverside fell in a hard fought game, 39-41 to St. Mary’s)

ALEXANDRIA — No matter the outcome of today’s girls basketball semifinal game between Riverside Academy and St. Mary’s Academy, history will have been made.

It’s the first time the Lady Rebels have advanced past the second round of playoffs in the history of the program, and a straight shot to the championship game is well within reach.

The No. 8 seed St. Mary’s Academy Lady Cougars are the only obstacle remaining. Tip-off is at 11:30 a.m. at Rapides Coliseum in Alexandria, and the No. 5 seed Lady Rebels are entering the game hungry for a win.

It’s been less than a month since the two schools faced off in a District home game that ended in a narrow 42-41 win for Riverside.

Head coach Kevin Dizer expects today’s game to be just as tight, considering the level of talent on both sides of the court.

“We are very familiar with St. Mary’s,” Dizer said. “We have fought wars with them that have come down to the last shot. We’re looking forward to the challenge, and I expect it to be a hard-fought game to the end.”

Unity through teamwork has been the hallmark of the team’s strategy all year, Dizer said, and there are no plans to change tactics now.

“Our saying all year has been ‘doing it together,’” Dizer said. “If we can play together and believe, I think we’ll be fine.”

Junior Bria Neal and senior Briley Becker have stepped up in the previous two rounds of the playoffs, having contributed a combined 36 points in last week’s nail biter against Notre Dame.

Dizer said both girls have been positive forces on the court throughout the season, encompassing what the program is about and always giving 100 percent in games and practice. Despite slipping into a slump of late-season losses, the Lady Rebels held their own and exited regular season play with a 15-10 record, comparable to the 10-17 record held by St. Mary’s Academy.

If successful in the semifinal round, the Lady Rebels will face the winner of St. Katherine Drexel and St. Thomas Aquinas, a team that spelled trouble for Riverside earlier in the season.

The championship game will be held at noon on Saturday at Rapides Coliseum in Alexandria.

Dizer said he’s pleased the girls program is headed in the right direction and finding success comparable to what’s become standard for the Riverside Academy boys basketball team.