D1 SEMIS: Ann Arbor Huron pulls away from De La Salle in fourth to advance to first title game in 10 years
EAST LANSING — Warren De La Salle coach Jon Djokaj might’ve come into this season with more knowledge of the Ann Arbor Huron squad than he did of the Pilots he helped guide to the Division 1 semifinals.
So he knew how many ways the River Rats had to beat you.
And it was a multi-player assault that helped Huron pull away in the fourth quarter, using a key 7-0 run to outscore the Pilots by 10 in the decisive final period, winning 55-39 to take the River Rats to the final for the first time in a decade.
Huron (20-0) will take on the winner of Thursday’s second semifinal, between Grand Blanc and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, in the Division 1 title game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Huron led 11-9 after one quarter, 19-15 at the half, and 33-27 entering the fourth.
The River Rats led by just five after a Linden Holder 3-pointer 31 seconds into the fourth quarter, but it was the next two minutes that allowed them to go into a clock-chewing stall offense, passing the ball around.
Kingsley Perkins scored on a tip-in off a missed 3, then scored on a layup on an assist by Julian Lewis a minute later to make it 39-30. Tyson Edmondson hit a 3 with 5:15 left to push the lead to 42-30.
De La Salle would cut the deficit back to single digits on a three-point play by Holder out of the timeout, but would get no closer the rest of the way.
De La Salle finishes 14-4 in Djokaj’s first season on the bench, after coming over from Walled Lake Northern.
Holder had 19 to lead all scorers, while Nino Smith had 10 points for the Pilots.
Edmondson was 4-for-8 from 3-point range, with a team-high 18 points, while Perkins had 13 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Rawls had 10 points for the River Rats.