The start was flawed but everything else went exactly to form for DePaul Prep.
Playing Catholic League rival Providence, the Rams watched the Celtics run off the game’s opening six points that required an early time out by coach Tom Kleinschmidt to get things corrected. “We don’t like doing that,” forward Dylan Henderson said.
Henderson scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the first half to spark the revival and guard Chris Harrell played ferocious defense on Celtics shooter Troy Howat in the Rams’ impressive 49-31 quarterfinal victory at the Jack Tosh Classic on Monday at York.
DePaul Prep (10-2) defeated the Celtics at home by five points two weeks ago.
Henderson also recorded a team-best three steals and added five rebounds as DePaul Prep limited the Celtics to just 11 baskets in advancing to the semifinal round. Henderson recorded back-to-back steals to spark a 13-2 first-quarter Rams burst.
Forward David Holiday contributed eight points and eight rebounds. His ability to crash the offensive glass paid immediate dividends, creating multiple opportunities for the Rams to inflict their own damage.
Michigan State football recruit Raequan William added six points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. The 6-6 center made patrolling the lane a nearly impossible task for the Celtics. His reach and size denied any easy opportunities at the glass.
Providence (6-6) shot just 38 percent (7-for-19) on two-point attempts. “When we played the last time it was about the same thing, locking them up defensively and playing tough,” Holiday said. “The coaches really stress with the bigs, Rae’ and me, to get on the boards and just be monsters there.
“Defensively we’re taking charges and giving help side defense and denying the ball and everybody is going hard and playing as a team,” he said.
Harrell made a difference on both sides of the ball. He played ferocious defense against Howat, who scored 23 points and hit five 3-pointers in the Celtics’ second-round victory over St. Patrick.
Howat scored a team-high 10 points. He hit two three-pointers but cold not generate significant touches as he managed just five shot attempts. Harrell suffocated him off the ball and rarely gave him open looks at the basket. “The coaches just wanted me to face guard him and not give them many looks,” Harrell said.
“I knew he could shoot really well, so I just wanted to stay tight on him.”
Providence shot just 4-for-15 on 3-pointers.
Harrell scored eight points. He drilled a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter that put DePaul Prep up 33-25. “The team always tells me to keep shooting,” he said. “My point guard, Mike [Johnson], likes to drive and kick and I was open and let it fly and it happened to go in.”
Williams scored on a twisting post move at the start of the fourth in pushing the lead to 12 points. Providence scored just two fourth-quarter baskets. DePaul Prep converted 11-of-17 free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Henderson shot 10-for-13 at the free-throw line. “I was feeling it today,” he said. “I was knocking down free throws and getting into the transition. But defense is our priority. If we hold teams to 31 points, we’re not going to lose many games.”