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De La Salle bounces back from first loss, tops Saginaw at Roundball Classic

Basketball   | Joe Buczek

State Champs! Sports Network

Harper Woods – Warren De La Salle boys basketball coach Greg Esler was looking for a response from his Pilots.

He got one Monday night.

Just two nights removed from a 66-49 loss to defending Class B state champion Milan, De La Salle responded with 66-59 win over a solid Saginaw program at the Motor City Roundball Classic.

“Milan is a good team, but let’s just say that our effort and our composure was not there in that game,” Esler said of Monday’s loss. “I’m happy to see the way we played tonight and how we shared the ball.”

Josh Winowiecki paced five Pilots in double figures with 15 points, earning him most valuable player award honors for the game. Kevin McKay also tallied 14 for De La Salle, including seven in the fourth quarter. A highly sought-after junior recruit, McKay showcased his defensive skills Monday with four blocks and four steals.

“Kevin is going to be one of the greatest players ever in De La Salle history as a leading scorer, but he did a tremendous job defensively and rebounded the ball well,” Esler said. “He might not have had his greatest game offensively but he stepped up big for us.”

Matt Grimm and Jack Ballantyne each chipped in 12 apiece for the Pilots and Alex Capoccia registered 10.

“We just had a good team effort tonight,” Esler said. “These kids love each other, and it’s huge when you’ve got kids that love each other and fight for one another.”

After trailing 21-19 after the opening quarter Monday, De La Salle (3-1) answered the Trojans with a 7-0 run in the opening minutes of the second quarter.

Saginaw, which finished the first half with 21 of its 27 points coming from beyond the arc, cut the deficit to 28-27 on a 3-pointer from Marquise Goodman with 2:34 remaining. But De La Salle, led by Colin Roach and Ballantyne ended the first half on a 4-0 run to push the Pilots ahead 32-27 at the break.

DayLontre Brooks issued his own response in the third quarter for the Trojans, scoring Saginaw’s first seven points and combining with Marcus Baker to score all 12 of Saginaw’s third-quarter points as De La Salle carried a 47-39 lead to the fourth.

De La Salle played in the double bonus for last six and a half minutes of Monday’s fourth quarter to essentially ice the game at the stripe.

“Saginaw is a great team and they’ve got a great tradition,” Esler said. “We just played with a purpose tonight and our concentration level was fabulous. We had a couple of miscues, but to turn around from that Milan loss and beat a great Saginaw team is big. My kids showed me that they’ve got a lot of character tonight.”

Jevon Pratt led Saginaw (4-2) with a game-high 18 points. Brooks and Baker also chipped in with 10 and 12, respectively.