Posted On: 01/25/18 7:11 PM
In a highly anticipated matchup between two of the best guards that the state of Louisiana has to offer, undefeated Riverside and Jared Butler went head to head with Walker and the top player of 2020 Jalen Cook. Riverside was able to come away with the 78-57 win, in a game that was much closer than the final score indicates. Check out the hightlights posted by CEDCINEMATICS.
— CEDCINEMATICS (@cedcinematics) January 25, 2018
Player of the game: Jared Butler 6’3 G Riverside 2018 (Alabama commit)
Jared Butler continues to cement why he is one of the best guards in the country, and continues to put pressure on Javonte Smart for the best player in the state. He came out of this game firing, scoring 9 points in the first quarter, and honestly there wasn’t much that the defense can do when you’re knocking down shots like this.
— Tourney Bound (@EvilADByrne) January 25, 2018
He went into halftime with 17 points, and I was impressed by Walker’s coaching staff throwing a bunch of different guys and defensive schemes to try to throw Butler off his game, but it’s tough when the rest of the team shoots as well as Riverside does from deep. Butler finished the game with 28 and made it look easy the whole way.
Sophomore of the game: Jalen Cook 6’0 G Walker 2020
Jalen Cook led the way offensively for Walker and finished with a team high 14 points. He had a pair of really tough 3s in the 2nd quarter that sent a message to Riverside that they weren’t the only team with shooters out there. However, there wasn’t a ton of flow for Cook. Ryen Russillo has a phrase that he likes to use when describing Brandon Ingram’s game, and that is AAU drives. Basically where a player isn’t scoring much in the flow of the game, but is just so supremly talented that he is still able to score off of talent alone, and that’s the way I felt watching Cook last night. Walker’s offense keeps a person at the high post at all times, which really cramps the spacing, especially when you’re playing a team that is as long and athletic as Riverside. That leads to the offensive player only being able to really attack one direction. However, this was still back to back incredibly tough games for Walker, so I’m not putting too much stock into this game.
Freshman of the game: Brian Thomas 6’4 G/F Walker 2021
I had seen Brian Thomas perform at individual camps before, but this was my first time seeing him perform in a structured game, and I came away really impressed. I knew that he was big and athletic, but he is a lot more skilled than I was expecting. He is able to handle the ball at a pretty high level, and was a good decision maker. Riverside came into the game not being able to miss, so Walker fell behind pretty big early, and because 6’6 senior Josh Perkins fell into foul trouble early, they had to turn to Brian Thomas early. Him entering the game was really the catalyst that lead to Walker making a comeback and going into halftime tied up at 28.
X factor: Jeremiah Bigham 6’3 G Riverside 2018
When Jared Butler goes for 28 points and is knocking down contested 3s from NBA range, it’s going to be tough to beat Riverside. But when you are also getting 20 points with 4 made 3s from Jeremiah Bigham, it’s virtually impossible to beat them. He knocked down 3s all night, and when the defense started closing out too hard on him, he got the ball to the rim and was able to use his size and length to score at the rim.
Guy I’d like to see more from: Dalton Moore 6’0 G Walker 2018
Dalton Moore is an over 1,000 point scorer in his career, and when he had the ball in his hands last night he was impressive. He can score at all three levels, and is a better finisher around the rim than you would probably expect. I can only remember him missing one shot last night, and normally that isn’t a bad thing. However, in this case it is, because he only shot the ball 6-7 times and finished with ________________ points. As a second option, he was passive for much of the game and only looked to attack when he absolutely had too. I would have liked to see him looking to score more, especially when the team needed a bucket during a dry spell in the 3rd quarter.
Dunk that was: Jeremiah Bigham cockback slam
The dunk of the game came from Jeremiah Bigham with a big cockback drop step slam. The play was initiated by a Jared Butler drive from the top of the key going to his left, and when Bigham’s defender stepped up to help, Butler threw a nifty no look pass to Bigham stationed at the right block, who finished with authority.
Dunk that could have been: Brian Thomas drive
Brian Thomas could have easily had the best dunk I’ve seen so far from a freshman. The ball was swung to him in the right corner, and when his defender closed out too hard, Thomas drove baseline with nothing but open court between him and the rim. He rose up, cocked back LeBron style, and attacked the rim like it had just said something about his mama. He came up about a quarter of an inch short, but if he would have connected, it would have sent the entire gym into an uproar. It takes a lot of guts to go for that play in a ruckus arena as a freshman, and I think that says a lot about Thomas’ attacking mentality that he plays with.
Week ahead for Riverside:
This week for Riverside isn’t as tough as it is for Walker, but it’s still no walk in the park. After the win last night, they turn around and take on MLK Charter in a district game tonight. Not the toughest of competition, but back to backs are always tough. Then on Saturday, Riverside might have it’s toughest test so far this season going up against Rayville in a matchup between the state’s two best undefeated teams left. Then after that matchup, they have a tough district matchup with Country Day a week from today. If they make it through this week unscathed, I don’t think Riverside is going to lose a game this year.
Week ahead (and behind) for Walker
Riverside came out firing, and took a big lead to start the game off, but it says a lot about the character of Walker for them to even make the game last night competitive. They were coming off an incredibly emotional win over Madison Prep the night before, and with the best team in the state coming in the next day, they could have easily folded when things weren’t going their way. However, Walker doesn’t have time to start feeling sorry for themselves, as their tough week isn’t done. Next Tuesday Javonte Smart and Scotlandville come to Walker, and the winner of that game is most likely going to walk away with the district title, and some major power points come playoff time.