Knights head back to 3A tourney with 49-46 win over Coquille
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
PORTLAND - The De La Salle North Catholic basketball program might not have a dazzling on-campus arena, but it definitely has a home territory in the Class 3A hoop world at the Moore Street Salvation Army Gym. And, the Knights did what they needed to protect their home court Friday, and played their way back into the boys state tournament with a 49-46 victory over Coquille.
Sophomore Kadeem Nelson scored 15 points, senior Jordanos Lincoln scored 10 and senior Marquis Guntle added 10 points, including hitting all four of this free-throw attempts in the final 40 seconds to send the team back to the tournament in Coos Bay for the fifth consecutive year.
Junior Seth Waddington scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Red Devils, who lost to the Knights for the third time in four years in the tournament play-in game. Coquille has missed the tournament by one victory eight times in the past nine years, and has not been to the double-elimination tournament since 2003.
De La Salle improved to 20-5 on the season, and will play Amity in the quarterfinals Thursday at North Bend High School. Amity beat Colton 69-63 Friday to improve to 21-5.
Coquille finished at 19-7.
The Class 3A Tournament begins Wednesday with the girls quarterfinals, then picks up with the boys quarterfinals Thursday. The boys and girls championship games are set for Saturday at Marshfield High in Coos Bay.
De La Salle's quickness and physical play seemed to catch Coquille off-guard at the start of the game, and the Knights went up 9-0 before the Red Devils scored. Early in the second quarter the lead extended to 18-7, but junior guard Henry Scolari led the Coquille comeback by continually breaking the De La Salle fullcourt pressure. A series of lay-ups by senior forwards Noah Hyatt and senior Dustin Davis, and clutch jump shots from Waddington eventually turned into a 34-33 lead when Davis completed a three-point play with 2:16 left in the third quarter.
Coquille led 38-36 entering the fourth quarter, but quickly reached 10 team fouls and the Knights spent much of the fourth quarter at the free throw line. De La Salle outscored Coquille 13-8 in the final quarter, with nine of those points as free throws as the lead changed hands five times.
A pair of free throws by Scolari with 43 seconds left cut De La Salle's lead to 45-44, then after Guntle hit a pair of free throws, Hyatt scored after an offensive rebound to make the score 47-46. Guntle drew a quick foul and hit both shots with nine seconds left.
Coquille set up Waddington for a game-tying shot, but it missed and the Knights celebrated a return to the Southern Oregon Coast.