LIVERMORE — As time was about to expire Tuesday night in another East Bay Athletic League thriller, De La Salle’s Alec Blair stood tall to make sure there would be no overtime.
The 6-foot-5 do-it-all sophomore swatted Tyler Harris’ last-second shot near the basket that could have evened the score, securing a 59-57 victory over Granada that kept the Spartans rolling along in the Bay Area’s strongest league.
Granada (16-5, 3-2) had made a late charge, nearly coming all the way back from 10 points behind with five minutes to go.
But it wasn’t to be for the home team as De La Salle (18-4, 5-1) won its fifth consecutive game — four in the league — to stay on the heels of first-place Dougherty Valley.
Blair, as usual, was a difference-maker on both sides of the court.
“He makes big plays,” De La Salle coach Marcus Schroeder said. “He’s a really good player, and he’s also got a knack for the dramatic. I just think about what he’s done in his career already. A lot of go-ahead baskets. He’s hit buzzer-beaters at the end of the third quarter, fourth quarter, and he’s made great defensive plays.”
De La Salle’s Alec Blair (33) blocks a shot on the last play of the game against Granada’s Tyler Harris (5) in the fourth quarter at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. De La Salle High School won 59-57. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
De La Salle seemed to have the game under control when Blair, who finished with 13 points, drove for a basket that stretched the lead to 50-40 with 5:18 to play.
The Spartans had gotten Andrew McKeever — Granada’s 6-11, St. Mary’s-bound center — into foul trouble and quieted the crowd.
But Granada, ranked eighth by the Bay Area News Group, chipped away down the stretch.
The Matadors closed to within 56-53 on McKeever’s putback with 22.2 seconds left and 58-55 on another basket by McKeever with 15.1 seconds to go.
With a chance for a three-point play, McKeever missed the free throw. But Harris swooped in for the rebound and basket to make it 58-57.
The home team’s student section was roaring again.
Granada’s Andrew Mckeever (45) takes a shot against De La Salle’s Johnny Cerruti (42) in the second quarter at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Granada fouled Arshawn Salkhi with 6.2 seconds remaining, sending the junior to the line. He missed the first free throw and made the second.
The inbounds pass went to Harris, a Salesian transfer coming off a 25-point game against California on Friday.
Harris dribbled across midcourt and was picked up defensively by Blair. The Granada standout drove to the left of the lane, with Blair staying with him in stride.
When Harris went up for the shot, Blair’s outstretched right hand knocked the ball away.
“He had kind of had a few on me,” Blair said. “That last possession, I was a little tired, but I saved up my energy just …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment