ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. — On a night where most looked a little sluggish out on the court, it truly took a team effort for De La Salle Collegiate to pull away for a 59-50 win over Stoney Creek Monday night on the Cougars' home court.
Juniors William Smythe and Linden Holder scored 16 of their team's 23 first-half points. That was good enough to keep the game tied at the break. But it was a balanced effort in the second half that did the trick for the Pilots.
Smythe scored the first six points of the third quarter to give his team a 29-27 lead three minutes in. Senior Nick Troszak then did his part, scoring six of his eight points in the quarter. Senior Ryan Buszka and freshman Triston Nichols also added baskets for the Pilots. A pair of free throws by Troszak in the final five seconds gave De La Salle its biggest lead (39-34) entering the fourth.
Though Stoney kept it close early in the fourth quarter, the Pilots used a 9-2 run to extend its lead to 48-38 with 4:29 left to play. Holder hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, sophomore Caleb Reese hit a floater, Troszak scored inside off a pass from Holder and Smythe had a steal and layup to cap off the run.
Reese scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter. Troszak scored all eight of his in the second half. Smythe led the team with 15 points, while Holder added 12 to help the Pilots improve to 9-3 overall.
"We've got a lot of people sick right now, the coaches, some of the players, so we did what we needed to do - we gutted it out," said coach Greg Esler, who is giving his team the day off Tuesday.
Stoney Creek (6-7) was led by junior guard Trevor Smith Jr., who scored a game-high 16 points. Teammate Ethan Smydra had 12 points of his own.
"Stoney Creek was ready to play," Esler said. "It was one of those games that you worry about. It's a Monday night after the Super Bowl and they didn't feel well. But we'll give them the day off and hopefully, we'll be ready to go on Friday against Catholic Central."
The game against the Shamrocks (4-7) will tip-off at 7 p.m. at the Bill Fox Gymnasium.