DAYTON - DeSales overcame a sluggish 15-point first half and a four-point halftime deficit to do away with Dayton, 49-44, and claim the boys Southeast 2B Southern Division's fourth district basketball playoff spot.
Dayton, meanwhile, fell into a loser-out game against the SE 2B Northern Division's four seed.
"I thought most of the game was played at the pace (Dayton) wanted to play," DeSales coach Mike Giusti said. "We really wanted to get it going faster. I thought the game was at their pace for all but about three minutes in the third quarter, when we outscored them by nine. After that we played slower, but smart the rest of the way and held on to win."
DeSales' three-minute third-quarter spurt began with a Matt Wujek power-up to tie the ballgame at 24. Sean Williams followed with a free throw, Shea Crowley layed up, Travis Haen buried a 3, and Tommy Gregg capped the run with another layin. The 10-1 run gave DeSales a seven-point advantage, its largest of the game, at the 32-second mark of the third period.
Dayton battled back with its own 6-2 run over the next four minutes to bring the deficit back to three, but successive buckets by Pat Richard and Gregg bumped the lead back to seven.
The Bulldogs would get no closer than three the rest of the way, the last time coming via a Garett Turner trey with six seconds remaining.
Facing tight pressure on the ensuing inbounds pass, DeSales' Richard almost received a five-second call before finding Gregg in the near corner.
Gregg was immediately fouled and sent to the line.
Gregg's two perfect freebies raised the margin to five and put the game out of reach of Turner's desperation 3 attempt, which missed its mark as time expired.
Richard and Turner had similar nights in terms of offensive output. Turner tallied 20 points, while Richard had 24. Both made three 3-pointers, and five 2-point baskets.
Richard's night was more well-rounded. The DeSales starter grabbed 10 rebounds to post a double-double.
"We didn't do the things we needed to do. We didn't run our sets the way we needed to run them," Dayton coach Roy Ramirez said after the game.
"(They were able to take the lead in the third quarter) because we weren't patient enough," said Ramirez. "For us it was one-pass-and-shot, one-pass-and-shot. When you start shooting like that and shoot that poorly, the other team gets the chance to get down quickly and score."
The loss leaves Dayton with last place in the Southern Division and sets up a trip to Pomeroy for a winner-to-district, loser-out contest on Tuesday.
"It's going to take the same thing that we've been doing these last three or four weeks: play good defense and come out and run our sets," said Ramirez. "For us, everything runs off of our defense. We didn't quite get it done tonight, but Tuesday we've got another game, another chance."
DeSales' win means the Irish are officially in the district tournament, but the first foe is the North Division's No. 1 seed, Garfield-Palouse. Gar-Pal won the previous meeting with DeSales (Jan. 9) by 12 in Walla Walla.
"We're in double elimination now," Giusti said. "We're even with everybody else, although obviously we've got to go on the road.
"I'd like to see us a play a little faster, because (Gar-Pal) also plays at a deliberate pace like Dayton," he said. "If we come to play with a defensive attitude and keep them off the boards, then I think we stand a real good chance."
The Irish and the Vikings tip-off Thursday in Palouse.
DESALES (49) - Crowley 1 0-0 2, Richard 8 5-8 24, Haen 1 2-4 5, Williams 0 1-2 1, Gregg 4 4-6 12, Solomon 0 0-0 0, Wujek 2 1-2 5, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0, Mata 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 13-22 49.
DAYTON (44) - Frame 1 2-2 4, Norris 1 2-2 4, Bickelhaupt 2 4-4 8, Schlachter 2 1-3 5, Henderson 1 0-0 2, Turner 8 1-2 20, Groom 0 0-0 0, Sunderland 0 1-2 1. Totals 15 11-15 44.
DeSales 7 8 17 17 - 49
Dayton 7 12 8 17 - 44
3-point goals - DeS 4 (Richard 3, Haen), Day 3 (Turner 3). Total fouls - DeS 19, Day 19. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - DeS 33, Day 27. Turnovers - DeS 9, Day 10.