LAFAYETTE, La (KMSS/KTAL) – The sequel is rarely better than the original. There are a few exceptions. Calvary is hoping to add their story to that list, taking down Riverside in the Division IV semi-finals, 67-63, to set up a re-match of last year’s title game against Crescent City.
Riverside’s Gage Lavardain didn’t make things easy. Lavardain, scoring 35 of Riverside’s 63 points, the only member of his team even in double digits. 19 of those points coming in the fourth quarter alone, where Lavardain tied the game up at 53. Minutes later, with the game tied at 59, it was Cavaliers stud guard, Daniel Ortiz, who made the biggest play of the night for Calvary. Ortiz sunk a circus lay-up that displayed the elite body control and top-end speed that has made him one of the state’s top players to give Calvary the edge, 61-59.
The Cavaliers would hold on to win, in part due to guard Malcolm McDowell’s big game. The senior, hitting two big three point shots, was the second leading scorer of the night for Calvary with 16 points, right behind Ortiz’s 18. Head Coach Vic Morris knew Riverside would try and shut down La’bree Williams and Daniel Ortiz. That gave the Cavaliers a chance to show off their depth.
“Lot of the attention goes to these guys right here (Daniel and Labree),” said Morris. “But we got some other guys that can step up, make big shots, make big plays, and he was up for the challenge today. I told him to stay aggressive and that’s what he did.”
Now, the attention is turned to Crescent City, with the pains of last year’s season-ending loss still fresh. So fresh, in fact, because Coach Morris had made a concentrated effort to keep it that way.
“At the beginning of the year, before the first practice, Coach Vic hung up a poster, showing us who won,” says La’bree Williams, who finished the game with eight rebounds and 11 points. “And it was really just pushing us to get back there.”
“It’s pushed us throughout the entire season,” says Coach Morris. “It’s why we wake up at 5:30 in the morning, its why we stay late after practice. To get to play them again, its going to be a good game.”