Riverdale blitzes PCA, 84-44|[02/14/08]
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 14, 2008
RAYMOND — The Riverdale Rebels’ reputation preceded them Wednesday, and they did little to change it.
Riverdale blitzed Porters Chapel from the opening tip, jumping out to a 21-point lead by the end of the first quarter, and put the game on ice with a 20-0 run in the third quarter en route to an 84-44 throttling of the Eagles in the second round of the MPSA Academy-A South State Tournament.
Jay Perkins led Riverdale with 21 points and nine steals, and six different players scored at least seven points. Jerry Northcutt had 12 points, six assists and five steals. The Rebels, the top-ranked team in Class A, improved to 29-1 with the victory and set up a possible showdown with perennial power CM&I in Friday’s semifinals at Central Hinds. CM&I will play Alpha Christian in a second-round game today at 5:15 p.m.
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Matt Cranfield had 12 points to lead PCA, which ended its season with a 12-10 record. Luke Willis added 11 points and Brad Pennington had seven assists.
PCA players and coaches alike said Riverdale’s record and ranking played a big factor in a one-sided first quarter. Riverdale went 13-for-18 from the field, mostly on easy layups off quick cuts into the lane and steals in the backcourt. Only one of PCA’s first four shots hit the rim, and Riverdale had eight steals in the quarter. When the smoke cleared, the Rebels had a commanding 26-5 lead.
“We got intimidated. We looked intimidated,” said PCA forward Josh Hill, who scored four points. “When we started sinking in the hole, we fell in and never came out. It’s a shame. A good season ended on a bad note.”
After the lopsided start, both teams settled in and PCA was able to keep the deficit between 15 and 20 points. Riverdale went through a cold spell — it was just 4-for-16 from the field in the second quarter and continued to struggle through the early part of the third — but PCA was unable to take advantage.
The Eagles cut the deficit to 16 points several times, including 37-21 at halftime, and had a chance to possibly make a run and get it to about 10. But turnovers following PCA rebounds hurt dearly, and Riverdale eventually decided enough was enough.
Rebels coach Steve Weir put his starters back in and went back to the press that had caused so much havoc in the first quarter. The result was a three-minute stretch in which PCA was barely able to get the ball across halfcourt. Almost every Eagles possession ended in a steal or some other turnover — they had 14 in the quarter — and Riverdale ran what looked like a neverending layup line. The Rebels ripped off 20 straight points, turning a 19-point cushion into a 69-30 lead by the buzzer.
“I wasn’t real happy the whole first half. I thought we were flat the whole first half. Then I thought we saw what we were capable of,” Weir said. “They’re a veteran team. They picked it up on their own.”