Another year, another blazing start to the season for Riverside who at 22-0 is ranked No.7 in the nation my MaxPreps.
The Rebels won the Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic over the weekend with a 61-55 overtime win over Karr in the finals and a 75-70 double overtime victory over Lincoln (Brooklyn, NY) in the semifinals.
“These are character wins,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd. “These are wins that not only build character for the future but it shows what these kids are made of. You're not winning because of skill, you're winning because of true grit and determination. You're only going to win if you rely on your teammates. Some great teams have great players but a lot of times they play as individuals as opposed to teams. To get this far and to win at this level you have to be a team.”
“Our guys are so good, and they want to win just as bad as I do, and that just speaks for itself,” said Jared Butler. With 26 points in the championship game and 22 in the semifinals, Butler was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player. He quickly called upon teammate Garland Robertson to share the award.
“He's the guy I would go in a foxhole with,” said Butler. “I feel like he played such a great tournament and I feel like without him we wouldn't have won any games. I'm also proud of all my (teammates) but I had to recognize him because he's kind of the unsung hero on the team.”
“That's my guy, I feel like (Butler) feels defense wins championships,” said Robertson. “I like to play with him too and I feel like he's the MVP and he feels that I'm the MVP, that's my guy.”
The Sugar Bowl win was Riverside's fifth tournament championship of the season. It also marked the fourth time in eight years that the Rebels have claimed the Sugar Bowl Championship.
And as for going to double-overtime in the semfinals, then overtime to claim the title?
“We like it this way,” said Robertson. “It's been tough, we're 22-0 and it's well earned.”