De La Salle’s boys basketball team does not set goals, according to coach Paul Kelly.
But the Cavaliers do carry expectations, and they appear to keep getting higher with each passing day.
The reigning Division II state champions ripped off their fourth victory of the young season Friday night with sophomore point guard Abiram Frye scoring a game- and career-high 22 points to help down Hahnville 64-48 in the semifinals of the 64th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl CYO Basketball Tournament played at the Jesuit gym.
“I’m very, very happy with our energy and with our defense,’’ Kelly said after directing the reigning District 10-3A champions to their 20th straight victory dating to last year’s 30-4 season. “I thought that was the best we’ve defended in this young year.’’
De La Salle (5-0) will play for a second consecutive and 11th overall CYO crown Saturday when it faces St. Paul’s in the 7 p.m. championship game scheduled for Jesuit’s gym. St. Paul’s defeated Slidell 64-54 in Friday’s second semifinal.
“We played together on defense, we kept our heads up and we kept moving,’’ Frye said. “We rotated the ball on offense. We moved the ball around. No one was selfish. If we continue to play like that, we can win the next game."
Hahnville (4-1) concluded its tournament run after victories against East St. John and John Curtis.
After trailing just once, at 7-6 three minutes into the first period, the Cavaliers took flight with a 14-3 run to end the opening quarter and never looked back from a 20-10 advantage.
De La Salle led 28-20 at intermission and extended that cushion to 45-30 by the end of the third quarter as Frye scored 14 on an assortment of 2- and 3-point field goals. The Cavaliers are playing minus their best player, senior guard Noble Scott, who is finishing the football season for De La Salle's state finalists.
Hahnville got no closer than 13 and De La Salle led by as many as 18 in the final period. The margin might have been larger if not for the Cavaliers' 11 second-half turnovers en route to a total of 18.
“Hahnville is a good ball club," Kelly said. “Their length bothered us some. But I’m proud of our effort. We have some high-character kids and tremendous listeners. They want to do the right thing. They want to learn and get better and that goes a long way."
Sophomore guard Jalen Ned scored 14 points, and junior forward Malcolm Coleman and junior guard Jalen Henry contributed eight points apiece for the Cavaliers, which had nine players score.
Sophomore guard Dylan Lorio scored 11 points and senior guard Kendall Pierre Jr. had 10 to pace Hahnville.
Frye made 10 of 11 field-goal attempts, including both of his 3-point tries, while going 0 for 2 at the free-throw line.
“We don’t set goals other than trying to get better as a team every day and trying to get better as individuals every day," Kelly said. "That’s our mantra. We have high expectations for the program."
Expectations that get higher by the day.
Note: St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Stanislaus were removed from the remaining CYO Tournament schedule on Friday, necessitating a change in Saturday’s consolation bracket. St. Martin’s and Rummel will play each other at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jesuit. St. Stanislaus had reached its limit for games on the season, according to a CYO official and St. Thomas Aquinas volunteered to withdraw to balance out the remaining bracket in the 16-team tournament. St. Martin’s had been scheduled to play St. Stanislaus at 2 p.m. at Jesuit followed by St. Thomas Aquinas and Rummel at 3:30.