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The DePue boys basketball team registered the first punch with a lead early in Friday’s Tri-County Conference game against Hall in Spring Valley.
The Red Devils responded with a knockout blow, outscoring the Little Giants 34-10 over the final 11 minutes of the first half en route to a 74-39 victory.
Jose Raya, who led all scorers with 24 points, scored seven of DePue’s first nine tallies in the opening five minutes, including a 3-pointer from the left side that gave the Little Giants a 9-7 advantage with three minutes left in the first quarter.
The long ball roused the Red Devils, who responded with a 3-point play from Brett Fanning to regain the lead.
Hall then kept the advantage for the rest of the night as it finished the first quarter on a 10-0 run — helped out by back-to-back baskets from senior Landon Piccatto — to take a 17-9 lead into the second frame.
Hall continued to cruise in the second quarter and found its range from outside, knocking down four treys as it started to wear down a depleted DePue squad playing shorthanded with three starters and a key reserve ineligble for the contest.
The Red Devils outscored the Little Giants 24-10 in the quarter to take a 41-19 lead into intermission.
“(DePue) played hard. They’re obviously a little shorthanded … but that didn’t stop their kids from playing hard,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said. “Our kids were kind of like standing around — we looked liked we’d never seen a zone before for the first couple minutes. Then once we reacted to it and settled down, we were fine. The first couple minutes it kind of looked like we were scared.”
The Red Devils made sure there would be no comeback bids as they kept up the momentum, outscoring DePue 13-5 to make things academic with a 54-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Fanning led Hall (8-15, 4-3 TCC) with 21 points and added six rebounds. Dan Nolasco and Matt Briddick each grabbed a team-best seven rebounds for the Red Devils.
Roosevelt Fuentes led a strong effort from the Hall bench with 14 points, while Piccatto chipped in nine.
The Red Devils reserves saw extended action in the contest with all 11 dressed players getting into the lineup and scoring.
“Those kids work hard all week and don’t get a lot of playing time. Rosie (Fuentes) doesn’t play a whole lot and he had 14 points and looked really good tonight. It’s kids like that who are trying to impress the coaching staff and trying to earn playing time,” Filippini said. “I think everybody did a nice job and everybody scored.”
DePue coach Gilbert Moreno said his troops showed good effort early, but couldn’t overcome the low numbers.
“A lot of times we don’t have the firepower to come in (off the bench), so we try to push these guys as long as we can. You can tell when they start to get a little fatigued because they’re missing shots a little shorter.
“They played hard, they listened. They’re mostly all juniors so we’re working for next year. No matter what, I’m proud of these kids.”
Alex Lopez finished with eight points and a game-high eight rebounds for DePue (6-10, 1-5 TCC).
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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