La Salle junior Zachary Crisler, who had 14 points on the day, makes a shot as part of a nail-biting win against Conwell-Egan. (Photo by Alec Kostival)

by Alec Kostival

It was a stressful win for the La Salle College High School Explorers on Sunday afternoon. Conwell-Egan Catholic kept the game close throughout, never falling behind by more than nine points.

The game started off slow offensively for both teams, as only 10 total points were scored in the first period. CCHS played La Salle hard in the paint, allowing La Salle to only score six in the period. La Salle matched their defense in the first, allowing only four points. Junior Konrad Kiszka used all of his 6’5” frame to come up with a key blocked shot late in the period.

In the second period, the Explorers started to build momentum as they went up 15-8. CCHS wasn’t dead yet, however, as they went on a seven-point run to tie it up at 15. The close game had tensions running high. CCHS head coach Brian Caver got a little too passionate as the referees called a technical foul on him halfway through the period. La Salle was able to convert their free throws and rode that momentum to their largest lead of the game, going up 24-15. Ever resilient, CCHS was able to come back within two points by the end of the period, keeping the game close at 26-24 by the half.

Both teams kept playing a close game in the third quarter. La Salle started to pull away from CCHS, but they responded with two key three-point shots in under a minute. CCHS was able to cut La Salle’s lead even further, ending the period with La Salle up by only one point, 41-40.

The forth period added more drama to the game. La Salle continued to carry their lead until three-and-a-half minutes to go. CCHS was able to secure their first lead of the game, riding a 10-2 run that put them up 55-51. The Explorers kept fighting, however, as a big three by senior Sean Simon tied the game back up at 58-58. With a renewed energy, La Salle was able to maintain control of the ball for the last minute of the game. With 1.3 seconds left on the clock, junior Allen Powell was able to put down a layup that gave La Salle the lead and ultimately the win, 60-58.

“We wanted to get the last shot on our home floor,” said head coach Joseph Dempsey about the final play. “There was no doubt in my mind what I was doing, I was going to get the ball to [Powell]. I liked the matchup that we had. We work on that all the time in practice.”

Powell also led the team in scoring, putting up 16 points in the game. Junior Zachary Crisler had 14 points on the day and Simon put up 13. La Salle had a hard time managing CCHS’ Senior Patrick Robinson, as he scored a whopping 30 points in the game.