Red Knights win another tight road war

Prologue
Its my 3rd straight DeLaSalle game as its back to the island for the annual rivalry tilt with #1 Benilde-St Margaret's.  A full house in the stands and standing 2-3 deep on the baseline walls with 100 or more stuck outside by the time we get the boys game started in this doubleheader.  That includes Jay Pivec, Flip Saunders and the Mr Basketball committee in the stands.  The hot dog bun left much to be desired as it was one of the worst of the year being separated and crumbling on the touch (sorry Islanders, have to be honest, the people want to know).  Dr. Pepper is always a quality choice as the overheated gym required much refreshment.  Billy Crystal (also reminds of guy Bobcat Goldthwait picked on in Police Academy) and John Lithgow 2 of the 3 officials tonight.  As to fashion, I'm certainly no expert but Islanders AD Darcy Cascaes is one of the few who could wear a scarf in a gym that hot and pull it off.

Game Time
Benilde-St. Margaret's goes...man to man??  Very shocking for any of us who have paid any attention to DLS basketball.  Only a couple of minutes pass and there's the 1-3-1 but only for a couple of minutes and the Red Knights play man the rest of the way.  Sanjay Lumpkin to the basket for 2 on a turnover and drives for 2 more.  He scores 10 of the 1st 15 for Benilde-St. Margaret's.  That's part of a 6-0 run that forces an Islanders timeout.  17-11 BSM at the 10:45 mark.  DeLaSalle responds with a 11-2 run with Tyler Moore driving for a 3 point play and putting back a miss.  22-19 DLS at the 7:05 mark.  27-22 Islanders after a Shawn Fitzgibbons layup at the 5:40 mark.  But he sits with his 2nd foul seconds later at the 5:17 mark and takes the DLS offense with him.  BSM goes on a 12-0 run the rest of the half for a 34-27 halftime lead.

Lumpkin doing work to start the 2nd half.  He grabs a miss for 2 free throws and then runs like he robbed Fort Knox for 2 more free throws.  I don't remember seeing a kid run that hard and fast from 1 end to the other on a play all year.  40-32 Red Knights at the 14:47 mark.  BSM keeping the Islanders at arm's length with a Zierden pull up and a nice cut by Will Dunn behind his defender for a layup.  49-41 BSM with 7:10 left.  DeLaSalle at home is tough though.  Fitzgibbons for 2, Reid Travis for an inbounds bunny.  Red Knights respond with Zierden flaring off of Lumpkin for a huge 3.  Lumpkin with a block and then a rebound.  Then on the other end he finds Zierden for a layup.  54-45 BSM with 4:41 left and DeLaSalle needs a timeout.  Again the Islanders come out of a timeout on a run.  Luke Scott flares for 3, a inbounds lob for Lumpkin is tipped away and Travis takes it the other way for a big dunk.  Travis then pulls up on Lumpkin for a jumper with 2:35 left (this was after Lumpkin got him in the 1st half, fun 1 on 1 battle).  The teams trade missed 3s before Dunn makes a floater.  Moore misses and DLS looks done.

Lumpkin trying to kill time up high against Travis inside 90 seconds to play and a 58-52 BSM lead.  But Travis picks his pocket and goes the other way for what looks like a dunk.  Lumpkin gets him from behind to prevent the 2 but its an intentional foul with 1:17 left.  Oh my, now DLS has life.  Travis makes 1 of 2 and Luke Scott buries a 3 on the inbounds as DLS keeps it.  58-56 BSM ahead with the ball and 59.7 left. DLS ran that play all night and they've run it for years (we'll show it below).  Time after time, BSM gave up open looks on it and had Lumpkin jumping out off of Travis to try and challenge the look.  Poor preparation and game adjustments there from the Red Knights.  BSM walks with 47.2 left and the Islanders have a chance.  Scott flares up high for 3 and gets mugged and will shoot free throws.  He makes 2 and then after a BSM timeout makes the 3rd.  59-58 DLS has the lead with 32.7 seconds to play.  BSM inbounds and goes since they drew it up in the timeout after the 2nd free throw.  Zierden goes to his right off a top of the key ball screen from Lumpkin.  He gets a mediocre to small bump and the ball is clearly off Zierden's right shin right in front of the BSM bench. Lithgow has a picture perfect look at it as the trail official and completely blows the call as he gives it to BSM with 22.8 left.  WOW!  Zierden catches the inbounds lob and pulls up for the super clutch 18 footer with 18 seconds left. Timeout DLS down 60-59.  The last possession is super physical as Fitzgibbons gets bumped off and Travis gets mugged at the left elbow.  DLS gets nothing and a long 3 at the buzzer is no good. BSM hangs on 60-59. 

Post Game
For DeLaSalle, Luke Scott with 16 of his 18 points in the 2nd half.  Good sets to get him good looks.  Reid Travis 16 points and 6 rebounds in the head to head battle with Lumpkin..  A couple of clutch plays late with the pull up and steal for the intentional foul in the last 3 minutes.  Interesting situation at the end as the final play broke down inside 10 seconds left, do you take a timeout there to regroup and then have to get the ball in and worry about a reset and possibly different defense. Other option is to just go and throw something up and go get it off the board late for a cheap 2 (its not the shot that beats you, usually the offensive rebound does).    The irony is that coach Thorson was just talking about this type of scenario on Twitter this past week.  Great point he made.  Neither one is right or wrong in principle.  The right answer is that you go with what you've practiced, BINGO!  Coaches, how many of these situations have you prepared for on a daily basis?  I view things like this like football coaches view special teams.  Its a big part of the game and deserves fair time in practice.  The Islanders have lost 2 in a row to fall to 12-5, 10-1 in the Tri-Metro.  They have 8 games in the final 3 weeks of the season, busy schedule.  That begins with a home tilt vs Minnehaha on Saturday night.

For Benilde-St. Margaret's, I was very surprised they didn't show more zone.  Especially considering that they will play 1-3-1 and DLS has struggled all year vs zone.  Granted they had the lead most of the way so why change.  Yes I know DLS did a couple things in the couple of minutes of zone.  That said, I can't imagine that the Islanders would have gotten a better rhythm vs zone than all the great man stuff they run.  I've said it before I'll say it again, there's is NO WAY I would play man against DeLaSalle, NONE.  Make their bench and non-scorers beat you against a zone.  How will they score??  Blake did a great job of this in the 1st win but even they made the mistake of chasing non-shooters and leaving Scott for a stretch of that game.  Sanjay Lumpkin leads the Red Knights with 20 points and 6 rebounds and a couple of blocks.  Isaiah Zierden with 17 points (6-11 FGs) and came up clutch with 9 of those points in the last 5:10 including the eventual game winner with 18 seconds left.  Will Dunn with 11, Isaiah Gray with 10.  Benilde-St. Margaret's is now 18-1 and 9-0 in the North Suburban.  7 league games remain starting with a city showdown and fun guard matchup against St. Louis Park on Thursday.

Play of the Day
Here's the baseline out of bounds that DeLaSalle used all night for looks.  Box set.  Luke Scott (shooter) on the ball side elbow.  Reid Travis ball side block.  Tyler Moore weakside elbow.  Sean Fitzgibbons (slasher, scorer) taking it out.

Travis pops to ball side corner for catch.  He sends it to Scott popping to the high slot.  Scott slot to slot to Moore popping up.  Scott straight down the lane line to screen for Fitzgibbons who hard curls it to the top of the 6 foot circle.  Travis then pins down (and shapes up strong afterwards) for the sharpshooer Scott going to the original ball side corner.  Great action and defender upon defender of Scott got lost trying to help on the Fitzgibbons curl and never got back or talked.  Good reactions by Lumpkin on a couple but he was too late on the late Scott 3 that gave DLS the lead.

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