DE LA SALLE 57, COUNTRY DAY 49
at De La Salle, Friday (Jan. 10), Non-District
Records: De La Salle, 13-5; Country Day, 4-11
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: 3 KEY MOMENTS
- De La Salle was in control for the majority of Friday’s night’s meeting, but the Cajuns made a big push in the fourth quarter that put some pressure on the Cavaliers. After falling behind 52-41 early in the last stanza, the Cajuns scored eight straight points with junior guard Xane Hunter accounting for five of them including a step-back triple with 1:31 left that cut the deficit to 52-49. Country Day had multiple good looks at the rim over the last few minutes of the game, but just couldn’t get anything to fall as De La Salle knocked down enough free throws to pull away.
- De La Salle’s best stretch of basketball came late in the second and early third quarter. They scored the last five points of the second to extend their lead to 31-22 going into the break, then pushed the lead up to 38-23 with 5:24 left in the third after a 3-pointer by Jalen Ned.
- Country Day got off to a solid start holding a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. They handed out assists on four of their six made baskets in the period sand seemingly everyone was involved with six different players making their way into the scoring column. De La Salle, however, scored the first eight points of the second quarter and never trailed afterwards in a hard-fought win.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jalen Ned, De La Salle
Ned was De La Salle’s top scorer with 17 points Friday night against Country Day, and he appears to now have his “basketball legs” under him after playing a key role for the football team this past season. The 6-foot-1 senior knocked down three shots from long range where he was 3-of-9 while going 5-of-16 from the field and 4-of-5 at the stripe. He also hauled in a team-high nine boards and his physical presence in the paint was much-needed for the Cavaliers. Ned also assumed the task of guarding Country Day’s Justin Ibieta for much of the night holding him to 13 points.
- De La Salle went 21-of-51 (41.2%) from the field, 8-of-26 (30.8%) from the 3-point line and 7-of-15 (46.7%) from the free throw line. The Cavaliers typically shoot it a bit better, but were still able to pick up the win holding Country Day to 18-of-61 (30.0%) from the field, 8-of-30 (26.7%) from behind the arc and 5-of-7 (71.4%) from the stripe. The rebounding battle was just about even with De La Salle grabbing 36 boards to Country Day’s 32.
- Both teams are working through tough stretches with De La Salle coming into the game dropping five of its last six games after an 11-0 start. Country Day had also lost five of its last six coming into the game with three of those defeats coming by four points or fewer.
- The Cavaliers got a boost with the return of Leonard Jackson, who missed De La Salle’s last six games with a knee injury. He finished with 11 points and was second on the team in rebounding with eight boards. The Cavs are now 11-0 with Jackson in the lineup.
- Country Day is the defending champion in Division II while De La Salle was the runner-p last season falling to St. Thomas More in double overtime.
- Before tip-off Friday night, De La Salle honored Craig Cowand, a long-time supporter of De La Salle athletics.
De La Salle coach Paul Kelly: “I was very proud of the way the team competed. Country Day is very, very hard-nosed, very well-coached and we’ve been struggling. We’re not playing well right now, but we took a step forward on Tuesday night even though we weren’t successful (losing, 57-54, to McMain), and we took more steps forward today. My biggest disappointment tonight was in how we finished the game, but we’re still not completely out of the rut…but there were a lot of positives to take from the game.
As I look back over the last five or six seasons, we’ve hit this rut around the same time. Usually around the end of December through the middle of January has been a difficult time for us. I don’t know if other coaches face the same thing but when we won the state championship (in 2017), we lost those four games in about a 12-day period. I think part of it is just fatigue — mental fatigue more than physical fatigue. I think part of it is changing roles and we do have a good team with very good players. They know that and they’re frustrated and we’ve just got to continue to build trust with one another.”
Country Day coach Mike McGuire: “We got it to (a) three-(point deficit) but we just can’t finish. We missed some layups and (De La Salle’s) tough. They missed a bunch of free throws to give us a chance and we still couldn’t score. But they defended well, they really did and we’ve got a long way to go, but I like the way we battled.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Country Day | 16 | 6 (22) | 17 (39) | 10 – 49
De La Salle | 13 | 18 (31) | 11 (42) | 15 – 57
Country Day: Justin Ibieta, 13; Xane Hunter, 10; Hartson Moss, 10; Alex Dreyer, 8; Gabe Kohlmaier, 5; Andrew Conrad, 3.
De La Salle: Jalen Ned, 17; John Kelly, 14; Abiram Frye, 11; Leonard Jackson, 11; Eamon Kelly, 3; Lamaj Kendrick, 1.
Up Next: De La Salle and Country Day will both be back in action this coming Tuesday. The Cavaliers will travel to Karr at 6:30 p.m. while the Cajuns host Lusher at 7 p.m.