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De La Salle starts fast, holds on to defeat Lake Shore, 67-61

By: Tom Markowski, December 20, 2016, 8:00 pm


Detroit – December basketball is all about making mistakes and learning from those mistakes to gradually reach your peak in March for the state tournament.

Warren De La Salle has made its share of mistakes, losing two straight but the Pilots, a top 25 team in the preseason, got back on track with a 67-61 victory over St. Clair Shores Lake Shore on Tuesday at Calihan Hall.

The game was part of a five-game, two-day extravaganza, aka the Calihan Challenge that matched teams from the Catholic League and the Macomb Area Conference.

Luke Pfromm led De La Salle (2-2) with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and point guard Justin Fischer had 14 points seven rebounds.

“There was a lot more focus today than there was in our last game (63-58 loss to Warren Woods Tower),” Fischer said. “We came out slow. We need to slow things down. We were playing into (Woods Tower’s) hands when we didn’t. We had to be more patient.

“The first game of the season (59-36 victory over Sterling Heights Stevenson) we were great. The next two, not so much. This game showed we’re getting better.”  

The Pilots outscored the Shorians by eight points in each of the first two quarters and led 35-19 at halftime. De La Salle made all five of its 3-pointers in the half in the second quarter.

As it turned out the Pilots needed that big lead. Lake Shore (2-2), which came in winners of two straight, scored the first five points of the second half and never allowed the Pilots to take complete control.

A Jaylen Dixon 3-pointer pulled Lake Shore to within 43-35 with 3:10 left in the third quarter and it trailed 49-37 at the end of the quarter.

It was a ragged third quarter for De La Salle. The Pilots committed 10 of their 24 turnovers during those eight minutes and, quite frankly, were fortunate to have that 12-point lead.

“We just panicked a bit,” De La Salle coach Greg Esler said. “We’re up at half, and I told them if we go on a 10-0 run that’ll be it. They score the first five points and it’s a game. It’s a 32-minute game. I tell the kids all the time that the first three minutes of the third quarter dictate the game.

“But it’s a good win. You don’t know how you’ll respond after a loss like that. Pfromm played well. He needs to take over at times. He can take it to the hole, he hits that 15-footer and can shoot the three. And Justin, he’s got to, when the game gets tight, demand the ball.

“I like our defense today. We didn’t let their scorers loose.”    

Three times De La Salle was able to increase its lead to 15 in the fourth and allowed two meaningless baskets in the final 30 seconds.