Seton LaSalle rolls past Washington in Class 3A quarterfinals

Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 11:24 PM

Both Seton LaSalle and Washington were shorthanded entering Thursday’s WPIAL Class 3A boys basketball quarterfinal game at Canon-McMillan.

The No. 4-seeded Rebels relied on a suffocating zone defense to carry the day as they cruised past the Little Prexies, 48-34, to advance to Monday’s semifinals where they will face the team that beat them in the title game a year ago, top-seeded Lincoln Park.

The Rebels (19-4) were without forward Trevor O’Donnell, who was out with the flu, while the Little Prexies were without leading scorer Daniel Ethridge, who was ineligible.

The missing pieces may have resulted in the sluggish start as Seton LaSalle scored only 17 first-half points, yet still led by three at halftime.

“We were up three I think at halftime and I told them if we can hold to them to 28 points, we have a good chance of winning,” Seton LaSalle coach Mark Walsh said.

While it took a while for the Rebels’ big guns to get going, the one thing that worked all night was their half-court zone defense.

“We weren’t going to change the defense because it was working pretty well,” Walsh said. “They were without their big gun in the middle, so I think that gave us an easier time on the defensive glass.”

The Rebels extended their lead to 31-24 after three quarters, and the Little Prexies never could make a serious run.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well across the board,” Walsh said. “But I thought we did a pretty good job rebounding.”

Seton LaSalle also did a good job protecting the lead in the final quarter by spreading the floor and taking time off on each possession while still looking to score.

Doing most of the scoring for the Rebels was junior guard Jake Verner, who had 19 points while fellow junior Dylan Preston added 12.

Seton LaSalle won its sixth game in its last seven and reached the semifinals for a second straight season.

“Lincoln Park has a lot of size and skill,” Walsh said. “They eliminated us the last two years, so we’ll take our chances.”

Junior Zahmere Robinson led the way for the Little Prexies with seven points.

While Seton LaSalle clinched a state playoff berth with the win, Washington (14-9) now must play the waiting game and needs the Rebels to reach the finals or have Lincoln Park repeat to qualify for the PIAA postseason.

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