In a battle between two of the top prep teams in the area, it was Riverside Academy which kept its in-state undefeated streak intact with a 72-52 win over Salmen on the road.
The top-ranked team in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10 poll, Riverside (13-4) was led by Herbert McGee who finished with 31 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Malik Crawford also had 18 points and Jordan Andrews added 10.
Ranked No. 9 in the Advocate Super 10, Salmen (18-5) was led by senior Chris Vickers’ 24 points. Corey Vinson added 11.
Never trailing after coming out of the locker room at halftime, Riverside took advantage of its superior depth to pull away from the Spartans in the second half and improve to 13-0 against Louisiana opponents this season.
Riverside hasn’t lost to an in-state opponent since 2013.
Speeding up the tempo of the game and relying on a suffocating defensive attack, the Rebels lead expanded to double digits on a three-point play by McGee to make it 47-36 with 1:56 in the third quarter.
Salmen was limited to four made field goals in the third quarter, and Vickers was held to four points in the period.
The Riverside lead grew to as high as 59-39 on a 3-pointer by McGee at the start of the fourth quarter.
“We came out and just didn’t start the way we are use to,” said McGee, whose team beat St. James 130-74 on Tuesday night. “We started off way too slow. We missed way too many layups and just played slow. Our game is running and that is what we know we need to do in order to be successful and win games.
“(Riverside coach) Timmy Byrd went off on a couple of guys at the half saying that we just need to pick the tempo up and start playing the brand of basketball that we are use to,” McGee said. “We took it to heart, came out in the second half and did what we have done for most of this season. We just played hard. This was all about our effort tonight. When we stepped it up, the scoreboard showed it and we came away with a good road win.”
A foul-infused, but competitive first half, Salmen held a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter after three free throws by Vickers. The senior forward nearly single-handily kept the Spartans in the game in the first half, scoring 17 of the Spartans’ 27 points.
Trailing 18-16 with 7:07 to go in the second quarter, the Rebels used a 10-3 run to take a 25-21 lead with 5:11 left in the half.
A 3-pointer by McGee with under a minute left in the first half gave the Rebels their biggest lead at 33-24 before a three-point play by Vickers with under a second cut the lead to 33-27 at halftime.