The 2-3 zone relegated De La Salle to a perimeter team.
Devoid of an inside presence, the No. 10 Cavaliers hoisted 15 3-pointers through the first 14 minutes of the Class 3A bidistrict boys basketball playoff round against No. 23 South Beauregard alone, converting only four from beyond the arc.
The Golden Knights fared worse.
Their attempt at counteracting a full-court press and the Cavaliers’ aggressive man-to-man defense yielded a mere six field goals. And an insurmountable 20-point halftime deficit.
Comfortably ahead, De La Salle never stumbled as they ousted South Beauregard from the postseason via a 79-48 effort at home Friday night.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from the arc, but sometimes that happens,” De La Salle coach Paul Kelly said.
“I thought our energy level both offensively and defensively was really good, though. Guys were in the right positions, guys were very unselfish with the basketball, our help side defense was very, very good, we were competitive on the glass and everyone that played contributed to our win tonight.
“I was very pleased with the effort.”
The Cavaliers (23-5) will play the winner of the No. 7 Patterson/No. 26 Jennings first-round winner. Guard Stephen Kelly poured in 15 points, including three 3-pointers while teammate David Williams registered 15 points and six rebounds to aid in the rout.
“It was very difficult attacking the zone, but we made it a lot easier on ourselves by moving the ball around and quickly,” Williams said. “We were decisive. Our guys like sharing the ball instead of playing 1-on-1 basketball.”
De La Salle positioned itself out front early.
Two jumpers paired with two 3-pointers provided the Cavs with an 11-2 lead to begin the first quarter.
Then, the Cavaliers cooled, jacking up shot after shot after shot to no avail. The drought allowed the Golden Knights to convert some fast-break buckets to narrow the gap 12-9 until De La Salle’s big men crashed the boards.
Piles of missed shots turned into rebounds, which turned into layups inside and/or trips to the free throw line, which paved the way for a 32-10 run.
“Grabbing the rebounds really pushed us forward,” Williams said. “It was critical for us, especially since some of our shots weren’t falling. That generated a lot of momentum for us and propelled us.”
Caleb Leblanc led the Golden Knights (14-15), scoring 12 points.
“Our style is playing fast and shooting the ball freely,” Paul said.
“We know that with that type of style, there will be nights when the ball doesn’t go in, so our effort and our competitiveness will have to carry us through. We often say that it’s not the shots that we miss. It’s the offensive rebounds we have to go out and grab. Tonight was one of those nights. But our competitiveness was very strong.”