By RYAN ARENA
Riverside coach Timmy Byrd says Saturday’s game in Dallas against Arlington Grace Prep-Dallas was the best game he’s seen one of his team’s play in the past two seasons.
The results bared that out.
Riverside trounced what’s considered by many to be the top team in Dallas, 59-34, to move to 4-2 on the young season.
Byrd notes that Arlington Grace Prep boasts five players ranked in the national top 100 collegiate prospects among sophomores and juniors, including the 7-footer Isaiah Austin – he’s regarded one of the top three prospects in the nation in the class of 2012.
“We played with a lot of intensity,” said Byrd. “All five of our starters came to play – they were pumped up before this one.”
Ed Gallina scored 16 points to lead Riverside. Cedric Jenkins added 15 and Ricardo Gathers scored 14.
The Rebels wasted no time jumping out in front, leading 19-8 after the first quarter.
Byrd said that the play of Gallina early in the game helped to set the tempo.
“Ed played a huge first quarter on both ends of the floor” said Byrd. “He was very, very active.
“He hit a 3-pointer off the bat, and Cedric added another. We had some put backs, and it got us going.”
Riverside increased its lead to 39-22 at the half, then slowed the game down in the second half, spreading the floor and drawing Arlington defenders outside.
“We burned a lot of clock and made them come out and guard us,” said Byrd.
Riverside allowed only 11 second half points, including just three in the fourth quarter, on a single field goal and foul shot.
“It was the best team defense we’ve played in two years,” said Byrd. “It was just one of those games where everyone came together.”
Byrd said that he hopes the win serves to generate momentum for the Rebels, especially with a big game coming up in two weeks against another national Texas power – Christian Life-Houston.
“If we play then like we played on Saturday night, we’ll be up to the challenge.”
PROVINE (MS) 74, RIVERSIDE 72 – In a Friday night game in Dallas, the Rebels took their second loss of the season against the top ranked team in Mississippi. Riverside missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, spoiling a 26-point night for Jenkins. Gathers added 16 for RA. The Rebels trailed by five entering the fourth quarter.
Courtesy of the L'Observateur