by Mike McLeod

Last week, you may have thought that La Salle was making a berth into the PIAA State tournament difficult on themselves after a loss to Neumann-Goretti. The loss in the PCL playoffs may have forced them into a win or go home game against the George Washington Eagles, but it was anything but difficult. The Explorers went into a matchup last Thursday with the George Washington Eagles knowing exactly what was at stake, and they took care of business.

The only point in which the game was in doubt for the Explorers was after the first quarter, in which they trailed the Eagles by one at 17-16. After that, it was all Explorers, who pushed the pace and locked down their own end en route to a dominant 73-44 win and a third seed in the PIAA AAAA tournament.

La Salle became next to impossible to stop in the final three quarters, in which they scored more — 53 — than they allowed to Washington all game. They showed a high powered, unselfish offense which scored at will, whether they wanted to work down low or kick out to their three-point shooters.

They hit eight three-pointers on the night, with two apiece coming from Najee Walls, Shawn Witherspoon, Dan Corr and Ryan McTamney. The shooters found themselves open thanks to precise passing throughout the game, as the Explorers tallied an impressive 17 assists on the night, including four each from Witherspoon and Walls.

The Explorers were led by senior Dave Krmpotich, who went 8-13 from the field and 5-6 from the foul line for 21 points. He also added 10 rebounds for the double-double. Witherspoon was second on the team with 17, including seven rebounds of his own. Walls joined them in double-figures with 15 and added four steals on the night.

With the win, La Salle finds itself right where it wants to be. They’ll try and repeat the results of last year, which saw them make an improbable run in the PIAA tournament that found them in the finals. Their journey begins March 7 when they travel to Spring-Ford high school to play fourth-seeded Ridley at 1 p.m. in the first round.