A clash between teams ranked in The New Orleans Advocate’s Super 10 boys basketball rankings lived up to the billing Monday.
Riverside defeated Country Day 81-66, but the final margin was not indicative of how competitive the game was.
“I was proud of the way my kids fought and the intensity level they played with,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “Even without Herb (McGee) and Jarred (Butler) having big games for us, we were able to beat a great team like Country Day.”
Country Day (19-7) led 17-14 after the opening period, but the Rebels came alive in the second quarter by playing more aggressive defensively. That led to a number of fast break opportunities and a barrage of 3-pointers.
Riverside (20-5) outscored Country Day 25-12 in the second quarter and led 39-29 at halftime as three Rebels reached double figures at halftime — Malik Crowfield led all scorers with 15 points, while Garland Robertson had 12 and Kash Foley 10. Christian Kerut scored 13 points in the first 16 minutes to lead the Cajuns.
Riverside looked like it would cruise to victory after the dominant second quarter, but the Cajuns came roaring back, keyed by a hot-shooting Michael Corchiani.
“Michael Corchiani is the heart and soul of that team,” Byrd said. “He comes and plays extremely hard, which makes them really tough because they can shoot the three and they guard so well.”
Corchiani drained a 3 to cut the deficit to five with nine seconds remaining in the third, but Robertson answered back with a 3-pointer to stretch the lead eight entering the fourth.
Corchiani continued his hot streak into the final period, and Country Day kept closing the gap. Corchiani drained a 3 at the 4:46 mark to tie the game at 60. However, Foley responded with a three-point play to put the Rebels back on top, and they never looked back.
“It was really important (to get that basket),” Foley said. “I knew Herb and Jarred were in foul trouble and weren’t really doing much, so I had to step up.”
Corchiani finished the night with 28 points — 24 in the second half — before fouling out in the final minute. Crowfield had a game-high 30 points while Robertson and Foley each finished with 17 points for the Rebels.
“I had to play aggressive this game to get our revenge on Country Day,” Crowfield said. “Our two best scorers were in foul trouble, so I had to step up and take over the game.”