Jared Butler led a parade of Riverside Academy scorers with 33 points, and the Rebels repeatedly fought back Scotlandville runs to beat the Hornets 74-65 in the Country Day Tournament semifinals on Friday.
Riverside (13-0) will play host Country Day (9-3), its District 12-2A rival, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday for the tournament championship, with Scotlandville and Baton Rouge Catholic playing in the consolation game at 7.
Nine players scored for Riverside (13-0), the No. 1-ranked team in the LSWA Class 2A poll and No. 3 in the nation in MaxPreps' rankings. It marked the second time this season the Rebels got past the Hornets, beating them 75-73 on a buzzer-beater in Scotlandville.
“The difference in this game and the first one is that they had 13 3-pointers,” Rebels coach Timmy Byrd said. “We limited their 3s this time. And I'm biased, but I think Jared is the best player in the state.”
Butler, an Alabama commitment, was in a game-long duel with Scotlandville's Ja'vonte Smart, an LSU commitment who scored 31 points. However, only four other Hornets scored, with Reese Beekman recording 13 and Trevon Smith 11.
“We had too many turnovers,” said coach Carlos Sample, who led the Hornets to the Class 5A state title last season. “We'd get close to them and then turn the ball over. The key was that when turned the ball over, they capitalized.”
Riverside trailed once — 4-2 at 6:58 of the first quarter. However, after trailing 60-50 at the end of the third quarter, Scotlandville edged to 68-65 on a putback by Smart at 3:11 of the fourth and two free throws by Tai'reon Joseph with 2:14 left.
However, Butler came up with a steal and made a double-clutch layup after switching the ball to his left hand. Garland Robertson then sank two free throws with 1:43 showing, and Butler drove for a basket and a 74-65 lead with 1:02 left.
Butler scored 20 points in the first half and Smart 18, but Riverside led 40-35 at halftime. The Rebels led 38-27 at 1:29 of the second.
However, Joseph and Smart sank back-to-back 3-pointers, bringing the Hornets within 38-33 with 38.6 seconds left.
Riverside gained a 19-14 lead — its largest of the first quarter — but Beekman had a putback and Jonathan Horton drove for a basket, cutting the margin to one going into the second quarter.