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La Salle has no answers for Archbishop Wood’s defense

SPRINGFIELD >> The La Salle boys basketball team managed a combined 19 points in the first, third and fourth quarters against Archbishop Wood Friday night.

The Explorers never got into an offensive rhythm and trailed the entire game — except for a brief tie at 17 — in a 50-35 Philadelphia Catholic League loss at La Salle College High School.

“We tried to play fast — didn’t do well,” La Salle coach Joe Dempsey said. “We tried to run our stuff — no answers. We just got dominated physically. No excuses. They played well. We had exams all week. I thought our energy level was very low. I thought the exams took a lot out of the guys as well as missing one of our starters Konrad (Kiszka) who’s easily one of our best players. It was kind of a perfect storm, but that’s the way it goes.

“We didn’t shoot well from the arc and every time we did bring it in we tried to shoot over (Wood center Seth Pinkney) and he blocked a lot of shots. Those blocks get their break going. They scored a lot of baskets in transition. You’re flat-footed when somebody gets a shot-block like that … When you take one aspect of the game away — the rim — now you’re stuck on the arc and you don’t shoot well.”

“We knew they have a lot of shooters on their team,” Wood senior Andrew Funk said. “They shoot the three-ball well, especially Sean Simon. We really keyed in on personnel today — that was a big focus for us. Obviously we did a good job limiting them to 35 points. We had a really good defensive effort that pushed us the rest of the way on offense and got us the win.”

The Explorers (10-4, 3-2) came out of the gate slow, falling behind 10-2 in the first quarter and 13-5 when the opening frame ended. They battled back in the second quarter to tie the game at 17 and went into halftime trailing, 24-21.

“We overcame a terrible first quarter,” Dempsey said. “We got it back. The Silent Night (crowd stays silent until 10 points are scored) thing is great for the kids but sometimes it puts pressure on the guys and we were a little tight. All that said, we’re down three at half and I felt pretty good. We protected a couple guys that had two fouls and we have a shorter bench because we’re missing a kid.”

Wood (6-6, 3-2) opened the second half on a 7-0 run and took a 32-25 lead into the fourth quarter.

Funk scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to make it a 37-25 game and the defending Catholic League champs never looked back.

“We needed a little boost,” Funk said. “We were coming off a good defensive third quarter but we weren’t really putting the ball in the hoop. Coach (John) Mosco gave me a little rest and to start the fourth quarter I just came out re-energized, got some good passes from my teammates and knocked down shots. It got us going.

“Last year we did a really good job of playing with the lead. We have a lot of experienced guys returning from last year and we really learned from that. We bring that back from last year and we’re really good at playing ahead — when they get back in the game pushing the lead and getting stops. That’s definitely experience from last year and guys playing hard.”

Wood’s Tyree Pickron scored a game-high 18 points and Funk added 15.

Allen Powell led La Salle with 10 points — eight in the second quarter — and Sean Simon and Jake Rothenberg each added five.

La Salle entered the night in fifth place in the Catholic League and the loss drops their record to 3-2.

“This league is brutal,” Dempsey said. “We have Neumann-Goretti on Monday, Bonner on Wednesday, McDevitt on Friday, Roman. It’s brutal. There’s nowhere to hide. There’s not a single game — top-to-bottom — if you don’t show up you’re getting beat. I don’t care who you are, where you’re ranked in the state. We’ll lick our chops and get back to it.”

Archbishop Wood 50, La Salle 35

Archbishop Wood 13 11 8 18 — 50
La Salle                    5 16 4 10 — 35

AW: Rahsool Diggins 2 2-2 7, Tyree Pickron 6 4-10 18, Andrew Funk 6 0-0 15, Muneer Newton 0 0-1 0, Seth Pinkney 2 2-5 6, Julius Phillips 2 0-0 4. Total 8 8-18 50.
LS: Allen Powell 3 3-3 10, Sean Simon 2 0-0 5, Marvin Harrison Jr. 2 0-2 4, Matt McMahon 1 0-0 3, Titus Beard 2 0-0 4, Zach Crisler 1 0-0 2, Kahlil Diarrah 1 0-0 2, Jake Rothenberg 2 0-0 5. Total 14 3-5 35.
Three-point goals: AW: Diggins, Pickron 2, Funk 3. LS: Powell, Simon, McMahon, Rothenberg.

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