Some say that beating a team twice in a season is extremely difficult and beating them three times in a year is nearly impossible.
Riverside, the No. 1 team in the New Orleans Advocate Boys Super 10, learned that lesson all too well Wednesday night.
The Rebels (13-4) fell behind early and failed to recover in the second half on the way to a 71-58 loss at Karr in a nondistrict game that snapped their 13-game winning streak.
“We started off with high energy and put a little pressure on their shooters,” Karr coach Taurus Howard said. “We forced them into some turnovers, but the good thing was we scored off their turnovers and kind of got them out of a rhythm.”
Karr (15-9) lost its two previous meetings with Riverside in the championship rounds of the Country Day Classic and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic, but the Cougars used their energy and aggressive defense to put Riverside on its heels for most of the game.
Leading the way was senior Vincent Phillips, who finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Tyree Thompson, a Northwestern State commitment, added six points, six assists and four steals.
“They are the No. 1 team in 2A, and they beat us two times, but we feel like we came up short the last game,” Phillips said. “We just did a better job of closing the game. Once we got the lead, we just kept control of it.”
Karr’s activity and length on defense gave Riverside problems to start the game and helped the Cougars build 31-22 lead in the second quarter.
The Rebels’ top three scorers — Herb McGee, Malik Crowfield and Jared Butler — were held to 35 percent shooting from the field in the first half, but Riverside picked up its offensive and cut the Karr lead to 31-26 going into halftime.
Riverside shot 30 percent from the field as a team. Crowfield led the way with 25 points and eight steals. Butler added 15 points and five assists.
“They outcoached us. They outplayed us. They beat us in every facet of the game,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “You have to give Karr credit, they came to play tonight and did a great job.”
Riverside crept back into the game to start the second half as Butler scored seven of his team’s first 10 points in the third quarter to help cut the Karr lead to 38-36.
From that point, Karr took over and went on a 28-8 run that extended into the fourth quarter and ballooned the Cougars’ lead to 66-44.
Crowfield hit three 3-pointers in the final period to help bring his team’s deficit to 13 points in the waning seconds, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
“We’ve been in some situations in games where we’ve had the lead and we let it slip away,” Howard said. “We’ve been talking about that in film and in practice and the kids did a good job of finishing tonight.”