Things weren’t looking good for the De La Salle Cavaliers. They hadn’t had a lead since late in the first quarter, they were down six points and there was only 5 minutes to go. But they refused to quit, and as a result, they’re on their way back to Lake Charles once again.
Abriam Frye scored 17 points, Jalen Ned added 12 more and the 3rd-seeded Cavs completed a furious comeback attempt to defeat the 6th-seeded St. Michael’s Warriors 59-52 to advance to the Division II state semifinals.
De La Salle, attempting to repeat as Division II state champions, got off to a good start, leading 15-5 midway through the first quarter before surrendering a 13-2 run as they trailed 18-17 after one. St. Michael’s continued to plug away as they would hold a lead until the last five minutes of the game when De La Salle turned on the heat.
With just under four minutes remaining, Frye made a layup to pull the Cavs within four. With 4:11 left, Ja’kobe Walker stole the ball from St. Michael's and Jalen Ned sunk a pair of free throws to pull the Cavs within two. On the ensuing possession, Walker stole the ball again and made a pair of free throws to tie the game.
Brandon Bourgeois sunk a pair of free throws with 3:26 remaining to put the Warriors back on top, but Walker responded by making two trips to the free-throw line count to lead once more. Frye and Henry did the work the rest of the way as the Cavs assembled a 10-point lead before a late St. Michael's 3 pointer made the final score a 7-point margin, but it was a margin that went to De La Salle.
“Hats off to St. Michael’s,” De La Salle coach Paul Kelly said. “They’re a senior-led team. They had a very good game plan, they executed it well, they’re very well coached. We were just able to get enough defensive stops and rebounds and our guys were able to knock down free throws in the fourth quarter and that really proved to be the difference.”
The Warriors were led by Bourgeois and Trent Schiller with 15 and 13 points, respectively. The Warriors outplayed the Cavs the majority of the game with smothering defense and superior rebounding, but the last five minutes proved to be their undoing.
“It’s tough because I honestly feel that we outplayed (De La Salle) for about 95 percent of the game,” Warriors coach Drew Hart said. “But in that last stretch, we just made some bad decisions. Give them credit, they’re good. We tried everything to slow them down and they were still able to make things happen.”
The Cavs face 2nd-seeded University Lab next for a shot to return to the state championship.