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Troy wins first Class A region title in 28 years as Colts down DeLaSalle, 48-40

By: Tom Markowski, March 15, 2017, 11:40 pm

Troy – Basketball is a simple game at times. If your team makes shots, you win. If they don’t you lose.

That was the case at Troy Athens on Wednesday. Troy made eight 3-pointers and Warren DeLaSalle couldn’t hit the ocean from the beach, and the result was predictable.

Jason Dietz scored 17 points, 12 came on 3-pointers, and Troy defeated DeLaSalle, 48-40, in a Class A region final.

It’s Troy’s first region title since 1989 and the first for Gary Fralick in his 32 seasons as a head coach. Fralick was an assistant on the ’89 team coached by Jim Clary.

Troy (21-4) will play West Bloomfield (16-8) in a quarterfinal at Calihan Hall on Tuesday at 7 p.m. West Bloomfield advanced by defeating Novi, 67-66, in double overtime.

DeLaSalle was 13-of-54 (24.1 percent) from the field and 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) from the free throw line. Coach Greg Esler said it was easily his team’s worst shooting performance of the season.

Troy stuck to a zone defense throughout in an attempt to keep the Pilots out of the lane and force them to shoot jump shots.

“We packed it in,” Fralick said. “And we prayed they’d miss. We did what we wanted to do.”

Dietz had help offensively. Fellow junior Leon Ayers added 15 and he started the game with a 3-pointer. He had eight in the first quarter as Troy led 14-10 and he had 12 at halftime as the Colts increased their lead to 26-20.

Dietz scored 10 in the second half and his 3-pointer from the left corner with 6:04 remaining gave Troy a 41-30 lead. The Pilots had scored the first five points of the fourth and gained a bit of momentum.

DeLaSalle (14-10) played well in the fourth. With 4:27 left it cut the deficit to 43-38 on two free throws by Kole Gjonaj and the Pilots had possession. But they missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation and Danny Sully followed with a basket with 1:47 remaining to effectively put the game out of reach.

“We had great looks,” Esler said. “Two things killed us. One, free throws. We missed five in row. Then we lost Dietz. Every time we tried to defend that wing we got lost. He’s the one who put the dagger in us.”

Luke Pfromm had 15 points and eight rebounds for DeLaSalle. Sully led Troy with 10 rebounds.

Troy starts all underclassmen and Dietz said the team has gradually improved.

“It’s indescribable, to take it this far,” Dietz said. “All of us are pretty good all-around players. We’ve done this all season.”