Catholic High’s been on the cusp this month of locking up its first tournament championship.
The Bears managed to do just that from the comforts of home against the reigning Division II state champions.
A baseline 3-pointer from Kentrell Garnett, who had a team-high 14 points, with just over three minutes left helped Catholic pull away for a 51-41 victory Saturday over De La Salle in the Red Stick Classic championship.
“It feels good,” Catholic coach Mark Cascio said. “It means we’re taking another step and at this point of the year, if you can continue to get better, it gives yourself the best chance.”
Jehovah-Jireh rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit for a 53-52 victory over St. Michael the Archangel in the third-place game.
CATHOLIC 51, DE LA SALLE 41: The Bears (13-4) watched a nine-point halftime lead evaporate under an 11-0 run after halftime by the Cavaliers.
John Kelly scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the third quarter, including a four-point play that tied the game at 24-24.
“They’re a team of runs,” Cascio said. “Fortunately, we held them to only that one run. We’ve had stretches where we made runs also. When we made a run and were able to hang on at the end against a really good team. That shows the toughness of our guys.”
Nicholas Judice’s putback at the buzzer gave Catholic a 34-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter and it was his basket – on an inbounds lob – that provided the Bears with the lead for good.
De La Salle (11-7) cut it to 39-37 on Abiram Frye’s driving layup, but Catholic held the Cavaliers without a field goal over the final four minutes — a stretch of 10 missed shots.
Four free throws from Kelly, the last two with 1:19 left, cut Catholic’s lead to 45-41 when the Bears overcame a 1 of 7 stretch from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter with six straight made attempts — the last four from Judice.
Catholic reeled off the game’s first eight points, forcing De La Salle into eight first-quarter turnovers and opening a 12-6 lead.
Collin Holloway scored eight of his 13 points in the first half, including a putback at the 3:50 mark, helping the Bears extend their lead to 22-11 at the 3:50 mark of the second quarter.
JEHOVAH-JIREH 53, ST. MICHAEL 52: The Warriors wrapped up third place with a late 10-0 run to erase a four-point deficit.
Guard Jake Williams’ 3-pointer provided St. Michael with a 46-42 lead with 3:43 to go, but Jehovah-Jireh’s constant pressure paid dividends down the stretch.
Jaron Davis’ layup after a turnover tied it at 46, and Timothy Jackson’s inside basket with 2:21 remaining gave Jehovah-Jireh with the lead for good.
Trenton Payne topped Jehovah-Jireh with 16 followed by John Paul Ricks with 14.
St. Michael’s Trent Schiller banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the game’s final points, giving him 19 overall with his fourth 3-pointer.