Boys Basketball: DeSales Stallions roll into Division II state final

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group

DAYTON – Having drawn to within two wins of its second state championship and first since 1987, the DeSales boys basketball team took control of a Division II state semifinal March 20 much as it had done throughout the rest of the postseason.

A methodical defensive game plan, alternating between man-to-man and zone looks, helped the Stallions establish an early lead and hold Dayton Chaminade Julienne to two lengthy scoring droughts in a 51-34 win at University of Dayton Arena.

Desmond Watson’s game-high 21 points as well as six rebounds and four assists paced DeSales, which improved to 19-7 and will play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in the state final at 5:15 p.m. March 21 at UD Arena.

Obed Achirem added 10 points and 12 rebounds and Atticus Schuler scored nine for the Stallions, who are in their first state tournament since 2009 and fifth all-time.

DeSales' Desmond Watson drives to the basket against Dayton Chaminade Julienne's Evan Dickey during a Division II state semifinal March 20 at the University of Dayton. The Stallions won 51-34 behind Watson's 21 points, six rebounds and four assists.

DeSales has allowed an average of 33.8 points in the postseason and held the Eagles to scoreless stretches of 6 minutes, 22 seconds in the second quarter and 6:10 to start the third in building as much as an 18-point lead.

“We live by ‘JYD’ (junkyard dog mentality),” Watson said. “It’s a mental thing. When you’re physical with a team, you can wear them down mentally. I feel like that’s what we do.”

Chaminade Julienne scored a season low in points and had just 13 after halftime.

“We were not going to be denied,” DeSales coach Pat Murphy said. “Our players showed so much resilience and stubbornness. We’re excited for the opportunity to get a shot at all of our dreams.”

Freshman Jonathan Powell’s 20 points led Chaminade Julienne, which finished 15-6. Half of those points came in the second quarter, when the Eagles closed within 27-21 before missing their first six shots of the second half.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do, especially in the first half,” Eagles coach Charlie Szabo said. “(Our problems on offense) were more mainly (because of) DeSales. They had a good plan on our inside game and we didn’t get the looks from the outside that we needed.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave