A drop in temperature outside University High’s Pennington-McKernan gym was predictable based on forecasts. As the temperature dropped, Riverside Academy really heated up.
A 14-0 fourth-quarter run was more than enough to give Riverside an 81-69 victory over University in a nondistrict game matching two boys basketball powers Thursday night.
U-High led 63-61 going into the fourth quarter after the Cubs’ Skylar Mays drove down the middle and scored on a layup.
That basket with 9.2 seconds remaining the in third quarter was the last for the Cubs until the 2:30 mark of the fourth quarter when Wayde Sims scored on a layup.
“We really locked down in the halfcourt and stopped penetration,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “And we played with high hands. Joe (Anderson) wasn’t going to play tonight because of a sprained toe, and he sucked it up.
“Malik (Crowfield) was huge. He kept us in it in the first half.”
Crowfield finished with 20 points, while Herb McGee and Jordan Andrews each had 17 points for Class 2A Riverside (22-6), while Von Julien added 13. Wayde Sims led U-High with 20 points. DJ White had 15 and Jalen Johnson 12 for the 3A Cubs (25-4).
Jordan Andrews helped jump start the Riverside surge with a 3-pointer and a layup. Two baskets by Joe Anderson, a layup by Herb McGee and a dagger of a 3-pointer by Malik Crowfield told the story.
By the time Crowfield hit his 3-pointer, the Rebels had a 75-63 lead that was just too much for U-High to overcome. It marks the fourth time in the last three seasons that Riverside has beaten UHS.
“They play at one speed,” U-High coach Joe Spencer said of Riverside. “They just keep pushing the ball up the court. It (fourth quarter) got away from us, and sometimes that happens.”
There was no shortage of athleticism or momentum shifts in the fast-paced first half.
The teams traded the lead early. Crowfield’s 3-pointer from the top of the key tied it at 10-10 with 4:22 left in the first quarter.
U-High surged ahead by scoring six of the next eight points. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Marshall Graves and DJ White gave UHS a 16-12 lead with 3:32 left.
The Cubs held the upper hand until Jordan Andrews sank a 3-pointer with 58.8 seconds remaining.
Riverside took a 19-18 lead into the second quarter.
The teams went through a sequence where teach took turns throwing up quick shots that netted no points. Crowfield was a steady presence for Riverside. He took advantage of U-High’s rebounding lapses to score on three tip-ins.
A 3-pointer by White ended the sluggish shooting for UHS and gave the Cubs a 32-26 lead with 3:20 left in the half. John Jones tacked on a layup that upped the UHS lead to eight points.
Predictably, Riverside bounced back quickly. Back-to-back tip-ins by Crowfield cut the UHS lead to four points. He also drove to the basket for another score.
U-High held the lead until Joe Anderson scored on a layup with 9.2 seconds remaining. That bucket gave the Rebels a 41-40 halftime lead.
The teams battled through the third quarter. Riverside surged ahead by five, but Johnson evened it at 51-51 on a 3-pointer with 4:36 remaining. The Cubs surged ahead by five but RA tied it on a layup by Julien seconds before Mays’ go ahead basket.