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De La Salle had the last run, the one that really mattered.
The Meteors watched Vocational vanquish their 13-point lead, but Marcus White drilled a three-pointer that sparked a game-changing 12-0 De La Salle run for a 65-54 win in a Class 4A King Regional semifinal Wednesday.
De La Salle advances to meet No. 2-seed Young in Friday’s regional final.
Senior Alvin Ellis scored seven of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Meteors (17-7).
“I just decided I had to be really aggressive and go hard to the basket,” Ellis said. “I didn’t want to settle for the jump shot, but take the ball hard to the rim.”
Marcus White broke the game’s final tie with a three-pointer from the right wing with just under six minutes to play for a 50-47 De La Salle advantage.
“That was a big shot, and it gave us some momentum and it got the run started,” Ellis said.
De La Salle ran out to a 36-23 lead in the second quarter. With just under three minutes to play in the first half, emerging sophomore forward Brandon Hutton took a hard fall to the ground.
Until then, Hutton was dynamite with eight points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Hutton was forced to the sideline and De La Salle became unglued. Vocational junior guard Michael Taylor heated up. He scored 18 points to lead the Cavaliers (18-10).
“He just bombed away and he played with a lot of heart and determination,” De La Salle coach Tom White said.
Taylor engineered a 12-0 Vocational push as part of a 19-6 run to pull even. Dionte Ingram’s free throw knotted the score at 42-42 to start the fourth quarter.
“Brandon went down and we struggled and they made the run to get back into the game,” White said. “Everybody hates these first games of the state tournament. They are very scary games. Nobody wants their season to end, and everything is amplified.’’
White and fellow sophomore, Karl Harris, hit three-pointers that allowed the Meteros to finally pull away.
Justin Earls, a 6-7 senior, scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half for De La Salle. He added seven rebounds.
After shooting just 7-for-17 through three quarters, De La Salle converted 7 of 8 in the fourth quarter. By contrast, Vocational missed five consecutive free throws during its five-minute scoring drought.
“I just had to calm down and make the free throws,” Ellis said.
Now the Meteors face a titanic struggle with Young Friday. “It’s going to be a tough game, but we’re going to have a good practice tomorrow and come out Friday and play our best,” Ellis said.