De La Salle High’s stifling defense befuddled Deer Valley High, 54-31, as the Spartans claimed the North Coast Section Division I championship Friday night at McKeon Pavilion.
De La Salle collected their eighth NCS banner since 2000, in large part due to their poise, discipline, fire and the fact they have only allowed opponents 33 points a game.
“We are an energy team and when we hit those first few shots we got the crowd into and the bench,” said junior swingman Elliot Pitts. “We are definitely looking to get back to state. We have a great game plan for the next three or four games, so it is going to be a great run.”
Pitts came out the gates like gangbusters, pouring in 10 first quarter points and never looked back. He attacked 6-foot-9 shot blocker Marcus Lee and finished around the rim with reverses and high arching lay-ups.
Pitts also was the recipient of a perfectly placed alley-oop lob pass from Amadi Udenyi that he flushed down with only two seconds remaining in the first half.
“At school they have been asking me to do it,” said Pitts of the slam dunk. “So we drew up a little play.”
The jam sent the Spartan student section into hysterics and put a cold dagger to the heart of the Wolverines, who had just cut the lead to seven points, moments earlier and went into the locker room down 27-18.
“Great pass by Amadi, great finish by Elliot,” added Spartan’s coach Frank Allocco.
Pitts finished with a game-high 22 points (20 in three quarters), followed by senior Amadi Udenyi, who tallied 12.
“The kids brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm and they were ready to play,” said Allocco. “Somebody just told me that we only win (NCS) championships in even years and we'd like to win in some odd years, too, and get a nice little run going. But we'll take them whenever we can get them."
The unsung hero for much of the season, senior Remmington White (eight points) was again spectacular in the paint, battling Lee for rebounds and position. White and his mates held Lee to only six points, four of which came on outside jump shots.
The contest started tight with Deer Valley only trailing 7-6, but someone forgot to mark De La Salle’s sharp shooter, Sean O’Dea. O’Dea railed consecutive threes and the Spartans finished the quarter up 11.
The Wolverines cut the lead to nine at the half, but a Remmington White put-back at the third quarter buzzer pushed the game out of Deer Valley’s reach at 39-24.
De La Salle’s offensive rebounding routinely prolonged possessions and prevented the Deer Valley fast break.
“All week we prepared to beat them,” said Wolverines point guard Kendall Smith. “We slacked off a little bit on defense and they took advantage. We are going to keep winning and see them again in the (NorCal) finals.”
Smith was Deer Valley’s most potent offensive threat, slicing his way inside for 11 points.
De La Salle most likely will enter the state tournament with a number one seed in the Northern California bracket and will look to repeat their trip to the finals.
De La Salle 54, Deer Valley 31
De La Salle
Individuals — (fg ftm-fta tp)
Robinson 0 1-2 1, Garner 1 0-0 3, Webster 1 0-0 2, Smith 5 1-2 11, Emran 1 0-0 2, Lee 2 1-4 6, LaBonte 3 0-0 6. Totals 13 3-8 31.
De La Salle
Hill 0 1-2 1, Udenyi 4 2-2 12, Rosselli 1 0-0 2, O'Dea 1 0-0 3, Hoffman 1 0-0 2, Pitts 8 4-9 22, Sullivan 0 2-2 2, Gunder 1 0-0 2, White 4 0-0 8. Totals 20 9-15 54.
3-point goals: Deer Valley 2 (Garner, Lee), De La Salle 5 (Udenyi 2, Pitts 2, O'Dea.).
Fouled out: None. Technicals: none.
Records: Deer Valley 21-8; De La Salle 27-2.
North Coast Section Finals, boys basketball, 3/2/12