Jared Butler and Malik Crowfield don’t need to say much to each other to know when one of them is having a good night.
Riverside’s starting backcourt has played together so long that they can feel when a good night is coming on.
Tuesday was one of those nights as the explosive duo combined for 51 points to help the Rebels (4-3) defeat Edna Karr 76-52 to win the Country Day Classic for the first time since 2009.
“We compliment each other, and we can feed off each other,” Butler said. “We both can penetrate, kick and knock shots down, so that makes us real dangerous.
“If we both are shooting the way we were tonight, it makes us really hard to defend.”
Crowfield, who was named tournament MVP after the game, finished with 25 points, six rebounds and four steals. Butler had 26 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Riverside also made 12 of 24 3-point attempts.
“I felt like I didn’t play like myself the first few nights, so I wanted to come out with that ‘dog’ mentality tonight,” Crowfield said. “(Butler) got hot early, so they started sending help his way, and that got me some open shots and got me in a groove.”
The Rebels grabbed an early lead over Karr (8-6) and held on to it for the majority of the first half behind the hot shooting of Crowfield and Butler.
Butler scored 11 points in the opening quarter, then Crowfield came back with a 16-point second quarter as Riverside’s lead grew as large as 42-29.
The duo combined to make nine 3-pointers in the half, and Riverside went into halftime leading 45-33.
“We’re just starting to get into basketball shape,” Riverside coach Tim Byrd said. “We’ve got some really good players, and they know how to play this game with purpose. We’ve got four or five guys that can really shoot it, and I think that’s what makes us so dangerous.”
Riverside didn’t allow it’s lead to get any smaller than eight points in the third quarter and took a 62-46 advantage into the fourth.
With the game in hand, Riverside turned to it’s ball-control offense in the final quarter to slow the game down and keep the Cougars limited time to score. Karr scored two points in the first five minutes of the quarter and only managed to score six points the period.
Karr coach Taurus Howard said that his team’s inability to respond once Riverside got things going was the main reason the Cougars fell in the championship round of the Country Day Classic for the second consecutive season.
“They shot the lights out,” he said. “Our kids got a little frustrated, and they got us to commit some unforced turnovers. Once they got a lead, we kind of got discouraged.”
John Maxmillion led the Cougars with 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range.