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La Salle blows out rival St. Joseph’s Prep

SPRINGFIELD >> Sam Brown drilled a three-pointer on La Salle’s first possession of the game Wednesday night and Nix Varano did the same the next time down the floor.

The two early triples were a sign of things to come. The Explorers hit 11 threes and completely shut down rival St. Joe’s Prep’s offense in a 59-18 Philadelphia Catholic League win at La Salle College High School.

Brown and Varano’s early three-pointers were the first of five outside shots the Explorers (4-2, 4-2 PCL) knocked down in the first quarter. Varano accounted for three in the first eight minutes while Brown and Charles Ireland each hit one to help build a 22-7 advantage.

“We have really good shooters,” Brown said after La Salle’s fourth straight win. “Nix Varano, Jackson Conroy, Charles Ireland, Horace Simmons – we have shooters all around. I feel like that’s a big part of our team.”

“It’s as good as any shot,” Ireland added. “All of our threes were on open shots. It was pretty much driving and kicking and getting the best shot possible.”

La Salle got its share of three-point plays even when they weren’t knocking down shots from the outside. Ireland scored three the old-fashioned way twice while Simmons scored through contact and knocked down his free throw once. Later in the game Chris Williams was fouled shooting a three and knocked down all his free throws.

The Explorers defense dominated the entire game, but especially the final three quarters. They allowed just three made field goals over the final 24 minutes and 11 total points.

“Coach (Mike) McKee’s gameplan,” Brown credited for the defensive success. “Coming out we executed. We knew what we had to do. We held them to 18. It was a great feeling.”

They paid extra attention to Prep guard Jimmy King. The Holy Cross baseball commit entered Wednesday averaging more than 24 points per game with multiple 30-point performances. He finished with six points.

“We knew who the main threats were,” Ireland said. “We forced their non-shooters to take shots and their shooters to put it on the floor.

“(The plan was) don’t let (King) get any threes. Make him put it on the ground and everything contested.”

Simmons led the Explorers with 15 points. Ireland added 14 and Brown 12.

La Salle is back in action Friday night when they host Lansdale Catholic at 7 p.m.

La Salle 59, St. Joe’s Prep 18

St. Joe’s Prep 7 3 4 4 – 18

La Salle 22 19 11 7 – 59

SJP: Clarke 1 0-6 2, King 2 2-2 6, Egan 0 0-0 0, Vargas 0 0-0 0, Hodgens 0 0-0 0, Thomas 1 0-0 3, Bird 0 0-0 0, Garwood 0 0-0 0, Gorman 0 2-2 2, Leuzzi 0 0-0 0, Hart 1 0-0 2, Smyth 0 0-0 0, Yagodich 1 0-0 3. Total 6 4-10 18.

LS: Conroy 1 0-0 3, Brown 4 1-2 12, Williams 0 3-3 3, Varano 3 0-0 9, Ireland 5 2-2 14, Simmons 5 3-5 15, Bryant 0 2-4 2, Sorge 0 0-0 0, Donohue 0 1-2 1. Total 18 12-18 59.

Three-point goals: SJP: Thomas, Yagodich. LS: Conroy, Brown 3, Varano 3, Ireland 2, Simmons 2.

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