By Joe Catullo Jr.
Intense and focused throughout, McDonald coach Jeff Rasile made sure his Blue Devils did not let up against Southern on Tuesday.
In fact, he didn’t lose those two elements after the game when his team began to exit the locker room toward the bus.
“Get back in the locker room,” he told them. “Nobody leaves until we leave together.”
“He doesn’t want anyone to get lost,” Stephen Politano said laughing.
That sums up the defensive effort during the 74-53 victory. Rasile said it was a battle of attrition — and nutrition.
“They hung, but as the game went on you could see they started to wear down,” Rasile said. “That’s where the turnovers came in the end.”
The Blue Devils (11-1, 8-0) utilized a 23-11 fourth quarter to make sure the Indians (8-5, 4-5) would not attempt a comeback. And since the 5:25 mark, McDonald went on a 16-9 run to the end. Southern committed six of its 23 turnovers in the final frame.
“I don’t know so much about endurance, but he had more people he could play,” Southern coach George Whittaker said. “I think we did definitely wear down middle to the end of the quarter. The big thing is we missed a bunch of shots on basket.”
Whittaker said he normally uses six or seven players per game while the Blue Devils have at least eight.
“We had eight guys; they had five,” Politano said. “They just wore down by the fourth quarter.”
After bolting to an eight-point lead after the first quarter and clinging to a 41-32 lead at halftime, the Blue Devils almost cracked. The Indians began the third on an 8-2 scoring run, but McDonald responded quickly and counteracted by going on an 8-2 run to end the quarter.
Matt Seitz led the Blue Devils with 22 points and also collected six rebounds.
“Matt’s got all the tools,” Rasile said. “Tonight actually wasn’t one of his better games. He’s played a lot better than that, but he did what he had to do to be successful.”
Seitz said the Blue Devils did not play a good 21-point win.
“I thought we had a lot of mistakes tonight,” he said. “We just got to work harder. We worked semi-hard, kind of. We were just off tonight. A lot of balls went their way. But, hey, a win’s a win. I’ll take it.”
Besides Seitz and Politano’s 15 points, Whittaker was surprised by Kenny Greaser’s performance.
“The new player that [hurt] us was [Greaser],” Whittaker said. “He probably blocked six, seven shots. He wasn’t even with them the first time we played them. He really helped them.”
Though unbeaten in the conference and suffering one loss so far this year, Seitz said it’s too early to say the Blue Devils control their own destiny.
“I don’t want to say yes just yet because anything can happen in basketball,” he said.