Clutch down the stretch, Reese lifts Pilots to win

WARREN, Mich. (MARCH 3, 2020) — As one of the younger players on the team, Caleb Reese has learned to put his trust in others.

Be it God, be it the coaches or his teammates, the De La Salle Collegiate sophomore knows he can't do it alone. But on Tuesday afternoon, the Pilots certainly put their trust in Reese, who certainly delivered in the clutch. 

With his team clinging to a two-point lead, Reese hit three of four free throws over the game's final 23 seconds to help De La Salle to a 61-56 win over visiting Detroit Denby.

"First of all, give God all the credit and the glory. Without Him we couldn't do anything," said Reese, who finished with 10 points in his team's win. "We were up two with about 30 seconds left. I knew that if I missed and they came down and hit a 3, it was going to be a bad situation, so I knew I had to make them. And thank God I did."

Reese and company had a real reason to fear the Tars. It was a Reese 3-pointer with 3:17 remaining in the game that gave the Pilots what seemed to be a commanding 55-45 lead in a game where points weren't all that easy to come by. But Denby did not go away. The Tars went inside to sophomore Marquez Bridges to cut the lead to under 10. Then, just over a minute later, sophomore Daquan Raheem knocked down a 3-pointer. He stole the ensuing inbounds pass and found teammate Kevontai McDonald inside to cut De La Salle's lead down to just three, at 57-54. 

Junior Linden Holder hit one of two free throws to give the Pilots a four-point lead with 39.2 seconds left. But the Tars answered, going back inside to McDonald to cut the lead to 58-56 with 29 seconds to play. De La Salle then got the ball to Reese, who took care of the rest.

Senior Josef Gjonaj helped the Pilots build a 34-22 halftime lead. He scored 12 of his team-best 14 points in that first half, scoring on three drives to the basket in the first quarter while knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the second. Holder scored in every quarter and finished with 12 points. Freshman  Triston Nichols had nine points and senior Nick Troszak and junior Will Smythe added seven and six points.

Bridges led Denby (6-11) with 21 points.

De La Salle (12-7) will host Ferndale in the regular-season finale on Friday. That game will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. at the Bill Fox Gymnasium.

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