Riverside went through the entire 2014 calendar year without losing to a team from Louisiana.
With the electrifying guard trio of Von Julien, Malik Crowfield, and Herb McGee, the Rebels’ streak could very well go far into 2015.
The threesome combined for 53 points in Riverside’s easier-than-expected 70-55 victory over Landry-Walker on Monday night in the championship game of the Holy Cross Tournament.
Julien started it. McGee finished it.
Julien exploded for 16 first-half points to jumpstart the Rebels. He finished with 18 points.
“We knew we had to start out early and not give them confidence at all,” said Julien, who was named tournament MVP.
McGee had 20 (including 15 in the second half) and Crowfield had 15 in a game that was a matchup of defending state champions.
Riverside won the Class 2A state title last season, while Landry-Walker claimed the Class 4A crown.
“This game was big because it was to see who the best in Louisiana is,” said McGee.
This one belonged to the Rebels (7-3), who haven’t lost to a Louisiana team since falling to Scotlandville in 2013.
Julien knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter for six of his eight points.
“Von usually passes up those shots, but he sensed that our team needed something and he delivered,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “When he needs to score, he can do it, and he got it done for us tonight.”
McGee, a junior, highlighted the quarter with a tomahawk slam in the final minute of the half to give the Rebels a 38-23 lead.
“I did a dunk like that at a camp at Southeastern Lousiana and that was my impression of that dunk,” McGee said. “But give credit to Von. He came out and bailed us out in the first half.”
Landry-Walker guard Khalil Williams, who had six 3-pointers on Sunday in the semifinals against John Curtis, kept this respectable.
Williams, an all-tournament selection, knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with 14 points for the Charging Buccaneers (9-7). Tevin King, also an all-tournament pick, finished with 13, but Landry-Walker could never cut its deficit to single digits.
Byrd also noted the play of Crowfield, who was the Class 2A Player of the Year last season.
“I thought Malik did a great job of rebounding,” Byrd said. “He had a complete game. All three of them scoring point guards. We played good defense but we weren’t playing great on offense and Von bailed us out with the three long 3s he made.”
Jordan Andrews, a Youngstown State signee, finished with nine points for the Rebels.
Both teams will compete in the Sugar Bowl Classic, which begins Jan. 8.
Melvin Frazier (Higgins), Richard Durant (John Curtis) and Tevin King (Landry-Walker) were also named to the all-tournament team.
JOHN CURTIS 47, HIGGINS 34: Kai Morgan scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Patriots in the third-place game of the tournament.
Richard Durant chipped in 13 points for the Patriots (9-4).
Melvin Frazier scored 20 points to lead the Hurricanes (10-6).