What was an historic run for No. 28 North Caddo, the lowest seed to reach the Top 28 since seeding began in 2008, ended with an historic quarter.
The Rebels were outscored 35-2 in the third quarter as No. 1 Riverside sprinted to a 101-52 win Thursday in a Class 2A semifinal in Burton Coliseum.
North Caddo scrapped Riverside to a 36-29 halftime lead for the New Orleans-based Rebels, but North Caddo tied a Class 2A record with the two-point quarter, which was set in 1993 by Isidore Newman.
Riverside flexed its quick-scoring ability in the third quarter, and its 35 third-quarter points barely missed the 36-point record set by WO Boston in 1975. Riverside’s 65 second-half points tied a Class 2A record, which was also set by the ’75 WO Boston squad.
“Where do you start when you get blitzed like that?” said North Caddo coach Ron Meikle. “Man can they shoot the ball.
“I think we expended a lot of energy making a comeback after their tremendous start … but we just ran into a better team today. They’re really fast.”
Riverside’s Malik Crowfield (26 points) and Von Julien (21 points) led four double-figure scorers.
Crowfield scored five of Riverside’s first eight third-quarter points before Riverside went on a 27-0 run to end the period.
“We didn’t play very good in the first half, but we righted the ship and got focused in the second half,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd. “It’s a testament to how good we are when we play with intensity.
“I think we have the three best underclassmen guards in the country, but their unselfish and move the ball so well. But we beat a really good team, and they’re no No. 28 seed with the athleticism they have.”
Riverside set the Class 2A record with 25 official assists, although Byrd said his crew counted 29. Julien had seven assists officially as the Rebels shot 52 percent from the field.
North Caddo’s Jontaveon Brooks scored a team-high 20 points on 3-of-14 shooting, but he made 14 of 15 from the free-throw line.
“I’m happy to be part of this run we had,” a tearful Brooks said. “I’m happy that our team made it this far.”
Robert Williams, a sophomore on a team filled with underclassmen, said his tears were for the senior class.
“I get to come back next year, but we were doing this all for the seniors,” said Williams, who contributed 12 rebounds, three blocks and six points. “We wanted to go out with a bang.”
Other North Caddo seniors include LaGarion Taylor (five points, eight rebounds), Deion Johnson (three rebounds), Tyree McCauley (two points) and Justin Homer (four points).
North Caddo’s Cinderella season ends with its worst loss of the year, but Meikle said that won’t detract from the magical run that began with a 3-14 record missing several players and ended with the program’s third Top 28 appearance. The Rebels appeared in their first state tournament since 1969 and won their only title in 1966.
“There is no better feeling than these guys came together, having to finish second in the district just to make the playoffs,” Meikle said. “We just started clicking, and I was really happy to coach these guys.
“We had a mix of freshman, but we also had some really good senior leadership. (Brooks) is a heckuva player and is a warrior, never quits.”
Meikle finishes his first season at North Caddo with a 12-19 mark, winning nine of the Rebels last 14 games.
Riverside (30-1) started on a 13-2 run aided by a handful of North Caddo’s 32 turnovers, but the No. 28 seed battled back with an 8-2 run to cut it to 21-15 . Freshmen Detaveus Easter and Darin Scott made 3-pointers in the run.
The runs went back and forth for the rest of the half, with North Caddo getting as close as 29-27 before Riverside forged ahead with seven quick points.
Riverside’s Herb McGee (18 points) and Jordan Andrews (14 points) also reached double figures.