LAKE CHARLES — Another Riverside game.
Another Riverside rout.
Riverside exploded for a record-tying second half to blow past North Caddo 101-52 in the Class 2A semifinals at Burton Coliseum.
The Rebels (32-3) will go for their second straight championship and fourth title in five years at 6 p.m. Saturday when it plays Lakeview.
Perhaps they will finally get tested.
Riverside’s four postseason wins have come by margins of 72, 27, 53 and 49 points, an average of 50 points per game. It was the third time in the postseason and fourth time this season the Rebels eclipsed the 100-point mark.
“What can you say when you get blitzed like that,” North Caddo coach Ron Miekle said. “They just came at us. We tried to take their shot, but we had a hard time doing it. They are well prepared. They are deep. And man can they shoot the ball.”
Riverside, ranked No. 1 all season in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10, led just 36-29 at halftime. But Riverside broke the game open after halftime, outscoring North Caddo 35-2 in the third quarter.
“I didn’t think we played a good first half, but we righted the ship at halftime and our kids got focused,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “I think it was self-evident in the third quarter how good our players are and the intensity that they play. They are a positive testament to the game of basketball and how it should be played.”
North Caddo tied a futility mark in the third quarter. The two points scored in the quarter equaled the lowest in a Top 28 Class 2A game, tying the mark of Newman in 1993 against Beau Chene.
That wasn’t the only record set Thursday though.
A free throw by Riverside’s backup center Richie George with 9.7 seconds left in the game gave the Rebels their 65th point of the second half. That tied the mark for most points in a half in a 2A game, which W.O. Boston originally set against Southern Lab in 1975. Riverside’s 25 assists also broke the 2A record of 23 set by Springfield in 1996 and 1997.
“That’s what makes this team,” Byrd said. “They are unselfish from No. 1 to No. 15. If you had to say one thing about our team is that they are a bunch of givers.”
Riverside placed five players in double figures.
The guard trio of sophomores Malik Crowfield and Herb McGee and junior Charvon Julien combined for 65 points. Crowfield scored a game-high 26 points to go with seven rebounds and three assists. Julien scored 21 points and was credited with seven assists. McGee finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.
“I will put these three guys up against any team in the country as far as underclassmen guards,” Byrd said.
Jordan Andrews and Joe Anderson chipped in 13 points each.
“They shared the ball; flew around on defense,” Byrd said. “I think we showed that not only are they good offensive players, but I think we surprised everybody and showed how good of a defensive team we are. I am pleased we were able to play all 15 of our guys.”
Riverside looked as if it may blow the game open in the first half. It led 13-2 after three minutes, but North Caddo responded. North Caddo, a No. 28 seed that barely made the tournament, outscored Riverside 25-16 in the next 11 minutes to cut it to 29-27 with 2:08 left in the first half.
“We did a good job in the first half of getting to their shooters and getting back on defense,” Miekle said. “They made that tremendous run at the start of the game and we used al lot of energy trying to get back into the game and I think that hurt us a little bit. They are worthy of the No. 1 seed.”
Jontaveon Brooks scored 20 points to lead North Caddo (13-19), making its first trip to the semifinals since 1969.
But it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome that second-half onslaught.
“These guys were grinding out and came out at halftime, and we were a different team,” said Byrd, who will go for his 11th title on Saturday. “That’s a testament to their mental toughness.”