Of University High’s 12 3-pointers against Riverside Academy on Tuesday night, the four most important long-range shots came in the first quarter.
The Cubs used the four 3-pointers in the opening quarter to build a 23-10 lead after one period of play. Although U-High would go on to add eight more 3-pointers on the night, the spread remained the same for much of the contest with the Cubs ultimately taking an 88-74 win over the Rebels in Reserve.
“We shoot a lot a 3s. We don’t always make that many,” said U-High coach Joe Spencer. “Usually when he play in here, it’s the other team making all those 3s. When you shoot it that well, you definitely will have a chance to win.
“We did just enough to hold them off but we knew they would play for 32 minutes. They play extremely hard and we knew it would be a full 32-minute game.”
“Every time we tried to get on a run, we made mistakes. We either turn the ball over or we take a bad shot. We couldn’t put runs together. The whole game, they were letting us back in the game and we just couldn’t get a run going ourselves,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said.
The win improved U-High to 19-5 on the season while Riverside fell to 14-13.
Four different players hit 3-pointers for U-High in the opening quarter. Meanwhile, the Rebels missed several easy shots from up close as the Cubs built their 13-point cushion.
“In the first quarter, I thought we left about 10-12 points. We missed real easy layups. Gage (Larvadain) usually doesn’t miss those but he left about eight points on the floor and David Reynaud missed two layups. That hurt us,” said Byrd.
Larvadain, who was held scoreless in the first quarter, heated up with 13 points in the second quarter.
U-High managed to up its lead to 14 points before Riverside cut into the deficit.
Trailing 40-26, the Rebels scored the final five points of the second quarter, including a 3-pointer by Reynaud with three seconds remaining to trail 40-33 at halftime.
It was much the same in the third quarter. U-High built its lead back to 14 points but a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Larvadain left Riverside trailing 62-51 heading into the final quarter.
Although the Cubs never pulled away from Riverside, they manage to stay fresh, substituting a complete second unit into the lineup. A total of 10 players scored for Riverside.
“We’ve been doing that the whole year. We bring in a second group of five off the bench and we usually play 11 guys each game. I have seven seniors. I have a lot of guys that I think can play and we try to utilize the bench,” said Spencer.
Riverside played with a much thinner bench but Byrd said fatigue was not a factor in the outcome.
“They were playing 10 and we were playing seven, really six tonight. I don’t think that wore us down but I think it might of gotten us in foul trouble. They could afford to get in foul trouble playing 10 and we couldn’t,” the Riverside coach said.
Riverside got as close as five points with 2:44 left in the game when a three-point play by Larvadain make it 71-66.
The Cubs quickly pushed the lead to 15 on two Milan Mejia free throws with 52 seconds left in the game before a basket by Reynaud and a layup by Terrell Hillard accounted for the 85-74 final.
Larvadain led all scorers with 23 points. Dujuan Daniels had 14 points for Riverside, Tairyn Lockhart 12 and Reynaud 10.
Mejia topped U-High with 18 points while Shawn Jones tossed in 14 and Terrington Butler 10.