Gabe Metzger scores 14 in second half; Darius Wilson has 26 points, 10 boards
By Steve Millar
Gabe Metzger caught fire and things turned around quickly for St. Laurence at the start of the second half Feb. 24 against De La Salle.
Metzger, a senior guard, scored nine points in less than three minutes, and the host Vikings rapidly erased a five-point halftime deficit on their way to a 69-61 victory in a Catholic League crossover in Burbank.
“Coach (Byron) Burt is always preaching to stay ready to shoot,” Metzger said “We had a rough first half, so we just tried to stick together. We had a game plan and it worked.
“My teammates got to the basket and kicked it out to me for open shots. That’s all I can ask for.”
Metzger scored all 14 of his points in the second half. Senior guard Darius Wilson had a huge game for the Vikings (5-2, 5-1) with 26 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Junior guard Brandon McCoy added 11 points.
Junior guard DaJuan Bates poured in 30 points for De La Salle (1-4, 1-4), while Miles McGee finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Marcelius Cohen contributed seven points and five rebounds.
On the first possession of the second half, Metzger was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws. He then knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to give St. Laurence a 35-33 lead after the Vikings trailed 31-26 at halftime.
“Free throws are always something that can help you,” Metzger said. “You get there and you focus and then, all of a sudden, your shot gets going. It helps you get into a rhythm.
“I think we came out of the locker room with more purpose than (De La Salle) did. They thought they had it at halftime.”
Burt credited assistant coach T.J. Cobbs for the Vikings’ fast start in the second half.
“(Cobbs) took over after halftime and he did a great job,” Burt said. “He put guys in good positions to score. He got them fired up.”
Wilson, St. Laurence’s starting quarterback and an Army recruit in football, continued a breakout season on the basketball court.
“As a freshman, I was hoping to have offers for both sports,” he said. “I’m committed now for football, so I won’t be getting those basketball offers, but I still want to show that I’m capable of doing that.
“I worked on my game more this offseason to be able to make the people around me better.”
Bates did all he could to keep De La Salle close, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter as he continually attacked the basket.
“DaJuan can go,” De La Salle coach Tom White said. “He scored 40 at Leo. This is my 36th year as a high school coach and I’ve never seen someone do that at Leo’s gym.
“I think we ran out of gas a bit. My depth level is a little bit short, but we’re learning. They’re good kids and they’re fun to coach.”
The Meteors were shorthanded after a couple injuries, but White thinks his team is close to a breakthrough.
“We’re a young team and we’re playing a lot of senior-filled teams, but I love playing these games,” he said. “It’s a ton of fun. We know our time is going to come. We only have 10 guys right now, but they can do it. So, let’s play basketball and have some fun.”