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Riverside girls basketball team eager to take on District

The Riverside Academy girl’s basketball team may be young, but these Lady Rebels aren’t lacking when it comes to talent.

Head coach Kevin Dizer said the girls had a successful first half of the 2020-2021 season, collecting seven wins and three losses. The team took a break for the holidays after a 45-33 win over French Settlement High School on Dec. 22 and returned to the court this week with a Tuesday evening home game against De La Salle.

“The first half of the year has been good,” Dizer said. “The girls have been working hard, and we’ve done a really good job of winning games and taking care of business. Even the ones we haven’t won, we’ve had a great attitude.”

Sisters Imani and Imari Daniel and senior Chloe Simon have proved to be leaders on the court this year, Dizer said.

Riverside Academy senior Chloe Simon goes for the net in a recent game against the French Settlement Lions. Photo by Rebecca Simon

Imani came onto the team as a seventh grader last year and quickly established herself as one of the most talented members of the squad. Now an eighth grader, Imani is averaging an impressive 17 points per game.

“She’s got a bright future ahead of her. She’s very special and talented,” Dizer said. “She’s matured a lot from the seventh to the eighth grade, and she’s playing really well for us right now.”

Ninth grader Imari Daniel has also made her mark this season, and Dizer said she is “probably the most improved player on the team.”

“She’s shooting the ball really well, handling the ball well, and she’s got a personality that’s infectious in our locker room,” he said.

The third standout is senior Chloe Simon. According to Dizer, Imari and Chloe are each averaging around 12 points per game.

Eighth grader Imani Daniel goes up for a layup in a December 2020 game against Ascension Catholic. Photo by Lori Lyons from The Rebel Express, Riverside Academy’s official student news website: rebelexpress.net.

“Chloe is probably the leader of the team because we have a really young team, and all the girls look up to her,” Dizer said. “She’s been very consistent shooting the ball well and doing a good job of being a leader on the team.”

While having a young team presents some challenges, Dizer said the girls are well matched in physical ability and do a fine job of holding their own at the 1A and 2A level.

“It’s only going to make them better for the future being this young and playing this early,” he said. “They are coachable and have a really good attitude. Those things are highly underrated. We’ve got a group of girls that love each other and play for each other. Every night we take the court and play extremely hard. They have fun doing it together.”

The Lady Rebels are preparing to take on South Plaquemines on Friday and St. John (Plaquemine) next Tuesday. District play begins on Jan. 14 and continues through Feb. 11.

Last year, Riverside Academy lost two district games each to St. Martin’s, Country Day and West St. John. This year presents a chance for redemption.

“It’s going to be fun. Our girls are really looking forward to seeing how much they’ve improved and how much better we can do in district this year,” Dizer said. “We only won two games in District last year. The two wins we got were against Crescent City, and they are actually playing really well this year, so it’s going to be a competitive district.”