In Play with Tom Markowski


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De La Salle rebounds in the second half to defeat Chippewa Valley, Detoroit Western keeps on rolling in Class A

By: Tom Markowski, March 16, 2015, 8:43 pm



Sterling Heights – Warren De La Salle coach Greg Esler’s pre-game talk apparently fell on deaf ears.

To remedy that Esler spoke a little louder at halftime.

Message received.

De La Salle shut down Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in the second half, limiting the Big Reds to three field goals in the final 12:35 and advanced in the state tournament with a 58-50 victory in a Class A regional semifinal on Monday at Sterling Heights High.

“They listened,” Esler said. “We didn’t know who their shooters were. We were lagging so tight. I have a 6-9 kid (Jack Balantyne) that I don’t want to be chasing.

“At halftime I told them why are we scouting if you’re not listening? Chippewa Valley is quick. They got a lot of 50-50 balls in the first half. They’re good. The first half was not good. The good thing was we were only down by three.”

Chippewa Valley made six 3-pointers in the first half and led 34-31.

The Big Reds also held the edge in rebounds (18-13).

“We lacked a little effort in the first half,” De La Salle junior Kevin McKay said. “We got out in the passing lanes in the second half. We’re a big team. There’s no reason why we should be out-rebounded. That’s just a lack of effort. And our scouting report said we had to get out and play the 3-point shot.

“(Coach) screamed at us at halftime. He told us to stay with the people we were supposed to stay with (on the perimeter).”

De La Salle (15-9) will play top-ranked Detroit Western (22-0) in the regional final on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Western defeated Detroit East English Village Prep 65-55 in Monday’s second game.

Western led 29-28 at halftime and 50-4 after three quarters. It led 53-48 before Josh McFolley made three free throws and Brailen Neely made a 3-pointer to give the Cowboys a 59-48 lead.

“The word is worried,” Western coach Derrick McDowell said of his concerns playing East English a third time. “They play wild and reckless. That’s not a bad wild and reckless. No doubt, there’s pressure on us. Everyday. It’s a different kind of pressure in the tournament because you go home if you lose.”

Neely had 22 points and McFolley had 19 to lead Western.

Karmari Newman had 22 points and Jaylin McFadden added 14 for East English (18-5).

Chippewa Valley was getting the shots it wanted in the first half and in the early part of the second. Steven Lloyd had three 3-pointers in the first half and his fourth with 5:15 left in the third gave the Big Reds a 39-34 lead.

That was Chippewa Valley’s seventh and final 3-pointer.

Chippewa Valley regained a five-point lead after Eric Drewyour’s basket with 4:37 left in the quarter but then the Pilots took over. They ended the quarter on a 10-0 run and led 46-41. Jack Balantyne’s dunk off of a fast break helped trigger the run.

De La Salle held a 12-4 edge in rebounds and during one sequence late in the third it forced a turnover on four straight possessions.

The fourth quarter featured more of the same. The Pilots held a 15-7 edge in rebounds and converted nine of its last 10 free throw attempts to put the game away.

“They took (Lloyd) out of the game in the second half,” Chippewa Valley coach Kevin Voss said. “We were trying to do things we didn’t want to do. We wanted to penetrate and dish. We went too much one-on-one. In a regional you have to play 32 minutes. And we played about 20.”

McKay led De La Salle with 18 points and seven rebounds. Josh Winowiecki added 15 points and six rebounds, and Ballantyne had eight points and 12 rebounds.

For Chippewa Valley (19-4) Lloyd had 15 points, Sean Bunting had 14 and Nieko Arapaj had 10. Drewyour, the Big Reds’ tallest player at 6-4, had nine rebounds and three blocks