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BOYS BASKETBALL: De La Salle falls to U-D Jesuit in Catholic League A-B final

Cubs complete 3-game season sweep of Pilots

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DETROIT -- De La Salle has ridden its defense to three Catholic League championships in the last five years and five straight trips to the title game at Calihan Hall.

Sunday, U-D Jesuit beat the Pilots at their own game.

"We're not very big so we rely heavily on our defense -- getting in passing lanes, keeping pressure on people, getting out on transition and scoring, spreading the floor and allowing our guards to create for our forwards," Cubs coach Pat Donnelly said after his team defeated De La Salle 58-39 in the Catholic League A-B championship game.

"I thought our defense today was great."

The 39 points were the fewest scored by the Pilots this season and three of their four defeats this season have been to U-D Jesuit.

"We didn't rebound early and we didn't get back in transition. They got a lot of easy scores," said De La Salle coach Greg Esler. "We didn't score. Their defense was good and we were really impatient."

The Cubs led 21-12 after the first quarter and they built their lead to 16 points with 2:41 to play in the first half, however, the Pilots ended the half on a 6-0 run to cut the margin to 30-21 at the break.

"We talked about that at halftime," Donnelly said. "We got that double-digit lead and we can't succumb to the pressure and turn the ball over. We talked at halftime about coming out like we were down 10."

De La Salle got within three points on a 3-point shot by Tom Novak early in the second half and Esler thought that things might be swinging the Pilots' way.

"I felt really good," he said. "We were that close and we had missed some free throws and we didn't run our offense. When we cut it to three we started moving the ball and reversing the ball, but we were playing catch-up because we weren't getting back in transition."

The Cubs quickly got back on track. Julian Morgan hit a 3-point basket. Freshman Cassius Winston was fouled on a 3-point shot and made all three free throws. A.J. Horde got a layup off a turnover and by the time the third quarter ended, U-D Jesuit had a 47-34 lead.

"We struggled offensively to start the third quarter, so that 3 and those three free throws were huge," Donnelly said.

Donnelly said that one of the keys to stopping De La Salle was containing leading scorer A.J. Turner.

"He's such a good player that we needed to keep pressure on him the entire time," Donnelly said. "He's their primary ball-handler and we felt that if we pressured him enough we could wear him down a little bit. He started out on fire. We made him work hard for everything."

That was Malik Howze's job.

"Malik's a hard-nosed, very aggressive defender," Donnelly said. "He has quick feet and quick hands and I think having a guy with that quickness to keep the pressure on (Turner) the whole time really took a toll."

Turner scored six of De La Salle's first 14 points, but only got one more the rest of the way.

Zach Paye led the Pilots with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Kevin McKay had eight points.

Winston led U-D Jesuit with 15 points and Horde added 10. Mike Wroblewski and Horde each had six rebounds.

"I'm disappointed, but you don't want to be negative going into the state tournament," Esler said. "We'll try to be positive and forget about this game."

De La Salle 12 9 13 5--39

U-D Jesuit 21 9 17 11--58

De La Salle (15-4 overall): Zach Paye 15, Tom Novak 3, A.J. Turner 7, Kevin McKay 8, Giovanni Rescigno 2, Jared Wangler 2, Matt Jones 2. Totals: 14 (1) 8-16--39.

U-D Jesuit (16-3 overall): A.J. Horde 10, Cassius Winston 15, Mike Wroblewski 3, Jared Scott-Ombima 6, Noah King 6, Harrison Wenson 4, Julian Morgan 3, Malik Howze 9, Nick Mutebi 2. Totals: 20 (2) 16-22--58.

Last Updated: 2/24/2013 7:52:57 PM EST