Riverside Academy coach Timmy Byrd has watched his perennial powerhouse Rebels play enough over the years that he has come to expect it.
At some point, his team will go on one of its runs.
“You know it’s coming, you just don’t know when,” Byrd said.
On Wednesday night, it came three minutes into the second quarter.
That’s when senior guard Herb McGee flipped on the switch by knocking down a 3-pointer.
The rout was on.
McGee went on a personal 8-0 run and Riverside closed out the half on a tear on its way to a convincing 62-47 victory over West Jefferson in the nightcap of the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic at the Alario Center.
“It’s fun to watch,” Byrd said about his team’s spurt.
Riverside advances to Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. second-round game to play Lafayette Christian Academy.
The victory helped Riverside, ranked No. 2 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large School Super 10, avenge its loss to top-ranked West Jefferson in the season opener. That was all the motivation the Rebels needed.
“We weren’t really ready for that first game because we had so many guys just coming off a state championship game in football,” senior Malik Crowfield said. “So we came out and played hard this second time.”
Crowfield led the way with 21 points, including 13 in the first two quarters. The Rebels led just 14-13 before McGee ignited the run. They closed out the half by outscoring the Buccaneers 21-6 to take a 35-19 halftime lead.
McGee also grabbed nine rebounds, seven assists, six steals and a pair of blocks.
“We have multiple guys who can get hot,” McGee said. “They got me the ball and I hit the two 3s and the lay-up. Then Malik got going, took over the game and couldn’t be stopped. When you have a team full of scorers, anybody can get off. Malik got off tonight.”
McGee finished with 13 points, five assists and five rebounds and Jared Butler had 14 points, six assists and three rebounds.
Riverside put together another run to start the second half, scoring 12 straight points at one point to turn a 37-21 lead into a 47-21 cushion.
“It’s a game of runs and we come out and try to be in attack mode every game,” Crowfield said.
Ray Anderson scored 10 points and Jonathan Powell had eight to lead the Buccaneers, who will play St. Thomas More on Thursday in the consolation bracket.
Riverside, meanwhile, will play a Lafayette Christian team that is riding a 10-game winning streak and whose lone loss came against Scotlandville.
“In this tournament, by design, we get to play the best teams in the state,” Byrd said. “Lafayette Christian has four really good players, The Ledoux brothers are as good as they come and Greg Williams is a really good player. So it should be a tough game. The good thing is we are going to get better no matter what happens.”