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Gerald Blackshear dominates inside, Western defeats De La Salle 51-35 to reach Class A quarterfinals

Basketball   | Branden Hunter

Gerald Blackshear dominates inside, Western defeats De La Salle 51-35 to reach Class A quarterfinals

Sterling Heights - Detroit Western coach Derrick McDowell was a bit concerned about the size of Warren De La Salle’s players coming into the game but knew he could either match or better that with the players on his roster.

Gerald Blackshear, a 6-8 senior, proved him to be right, dominating the paint area, in a 51-35 win over the Pilots in a Class A regional final at Sterling Heights High on Wednesday.

Blackshear racked up four dunks on the night, and finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks. De La Salle (14-10) stayed in a zone defense most of the game, trying to force Western into shooting from the perimeter but forgot to account for Blackshear.

"I felt that if we could get it to him, they we could get good results," McDowell said. "And once we got it down there to him tonight, we got those good results.

"Our guards were able to get it to him, through penetration of their zone. And with penetrating, of forces the defender to either go block the shot or let Gerald roam. They let him roam, and he got a lot of easy baskets."

Blackshear opened up the second quarter with a dunk, giving Western a 15-11 lead. The Cowboys then outscored De La Salle 12-2 the rest of the quarter, harassing them on defense, and putting the ball in the basket. Josh McFolley scored five straight at one point, hitting a 3-pointer and then stealing the ball for an easy lay-up, which pushed their lead to 23-13.

"I actually thought we were terrible on defense," said McDowell. "We didn't do a good job of keeping them away from the basket, and we missed assignments. They were big, but weren't the smallest ones on the floor tonight.

"I thought McFolley played good, and Karim Murray gave us a lot offensively. It was a team win tonight."

Western (23-0) held its largest lead, 35-18, late in the third when junior Jaye Patrick got free for an easy score. De La Salle did manage to cut the lead to nine in the fourth, but there was Blackshear again for an easy dunk to give Western a 46-35 lead with just over three minutes left.

Kevin McKay led the Pilots with 13 points. Murray had 11 for the Cowboys.

"We were expecting everything they threw at us, as far as plays and stuff," said Blackshear. "And we can change our style of play depending on what team we play. I wasn't concerned about their size, my teammates got me the ball and I made plays."

Western will play Ypsilanti in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at Calihan Hall at 7 p.m.

Blackshear is more than happy to be in this position again. He helped Mount Clemens reached the Class C quarters last season. He's not trying to go home early again. 

"Last year was upsetting for us two," said Blackshear. "But we have a fire in our hearts now, and we are playing to win."