It was dubbed a showdown between Class 2A juggernauts, but by the final buzzer, Friday night’s Class 2A clash had turned into a Riverside Rebel rout.
Backed by tenacious defense, stellar all-around shooting and a double-double from sophomore guard Jordan Andrews, Riverside downed University High 72-44 in the Pennington McKernan Gymnasium.
Andrews scored 16 points and snagged 10 rebounds to pace the Rebels, who improved to 15-3, while delivering the Cubs (19-2) just their second loss.
“We beat a really good team tonight, and I’m really proud of the way our kids came out and took care of business right from the tip,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “U-High is a very good team, and this is no indication of who U-High is. They’re an excellent team. The ball just went our way tonight.”
Andrews was joined by freshman guard Herbert McGee and fellow sophomore Charvon Julien in double-digit scoring, with McGee and Julien dropping 14 and 10, respectively.
The trio combined for five of Riverside’s nine 3-pointers as the Rebels scored more points on U-High than any team this season.
“They just kind of knocked us back on our heels, and we were never able to recover,” U-High coach Joe Spencer said. “They’ve got a really good team. They’ve got five guys that can shoot and just play anywhere on the floor. It’s tough to match up with them. You just kind of try to pick your poison, but if they’re shooting the ball well, you’re kind of in trouble.”
The game started as a high-scoring affair with the teams combining for four 3-pointers in the first six buckets of the game.
Riverside held a 15-9 lead after the first quarter but exploded to a 24-point advantage after a strong second quarter. The Rebels scored the first eight points in the quarter before hitting a 17-3 run.
The offensive explosion was part of a 23-point second quarter where Riverside held U-High to five points.
The Rebels threw a number of defenses at the Cubs, from a full-court press to a diamond-and-one, holding U-High, who averages nearly 65 points per game.
“We don’t get credit for how good of a defensive team we are,” Byrd said. “Our kids play really good man defense. They’re also able to change up their defenses and also understand their responsibilities at the same time, which is kind of unique for a young team. They take pride in their defense. They like to lock down other teams.”
Most of the Cubs’ offense flowed through D.J. White and Wayde Sims. White had just two points in the first half, but came out firing with 13 second-half points. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
Sims added 11 points, five blocks and six rebounds.
For Andrews it showed Riverside is a team to be reckoned with in Class 2A.
“It showed people that we’re the best team in 2A right now beating them,” Andrews said. “It feels good. We’ve got to play hungry, and we can’t stop doing what we’ve got to do. Go hard in practice every day and go out and show it.”