LA SALLE — It's often said that when two rivals meet in athletic competition you can throw the records out the window, because those type of games bring out the best from both sides.
That was the case for the opening five minutes of Saturday night's Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division contest between AP Class 3A No. 9-ranked Ottawa (20-2, 9-1) and host La Salle-Peru (7-16, 1-8) here at A. J. Sellett Memorial Gymnasium.
However, the final 27 minutes were pretty much all Pirates.
The Cavaliers used a deliberate approach on the offensive end to start the game and took an 8-6 lead with just under three minutes to play in the opening quarter after a layup by Cole Lynch and putback of his own miss by Elliot Tubbs.
Ottawa coach Mark Cooper called a timeout, and out of it the boys in Red and White responded with what proved to be a game-changing, 14-0 run on the way to a 57-36 victory. It's the seventh consecutive triumph in the longtime series for Ottawa and its fourth 20-win season in the past seven years.
"La Salle-Peru was doing a good job early of having some long possessions ... trying to shorten the game a little bit," Cooper said, his club holding L-P scoreless from the early timeout at the 2-minute, 57-second mark of the first until 5:40 left in the second. "We didn't want to do anything where we extended too far and gave up any easy opportunities. We (came out of the timeout) with a really nice surge to separate the game out, which makes the deliberate style of basketball a little more difficult to play when you're chasing."
Out of the 60-second break, Tyler Carson scored on a drive down the lane — two of his game-high 15 points — and Dakota Deverteuil followed with a scoop off the baseline, part of his 12-point night. A pair of technical fouls on the Cavs only produced a single point in four free-throw tries for OHS with a minute remaining, but a Carson triple from the right wing, a free toss by Wyatt Hill and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the top of the key by Alex Stevenson off of one of Hill's eight assists had the Pirates up 18-8.
Noah Gould's lay-in off a Deverteuil pass started the second frame for the visitors. Tubbs ended the surge with the first of his four baskets in the period, but the Pirates used another drive by Carson, a Hill triple from the left wing and Deverteuil's layup from a great look by Myles Tucker to push the lead to 29-16 at halftime.
"The game plan is, generally speaking, to get the best shot available, and I thought our guys executed that very well to start the game. They were able to slow themselves down in a big moment," said L-P coach Jim Cherveny. "We track our time of possessions, and our very first time with the ball we had it 54 seconds and we got a bucket out of it, and our third was 47 seconds and another basket. I thought we did a good job of handling Ottawa's pressure in the opening five minutes.
"That shifted with their fast-break game when they were able convert three or four times in transition, and that really got us on our heels. We took shots and became spectators instead of getting back on defense. When you get Tucker and Hill in transition, it's very hard to stop those guys.
"That really turned the tide in their favor."
The Pirates scored four of their first five baskets in the second half off inbounds plays under their own basket — two each by both Carson and Deverteui,l all from Hill — before a Tucker right-handed dunk off the break and a Hill trey from out front with five seconds remaining gave Ottawa a 48-23 margin heading to the fourth.
Hill finished with eight points and five steals, while Tucker scored eight points, four assists and a pair of steals.
"We didn't really make any changes at halftime. We executed the way we wanted to coming out in the third quarter to put the game where we wanted it," said Cooper.
At A.J. Sellett Memorial Gym, La Salle
Ottawa 57, La Salle-Peru 36
(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)
OTTAWA (57) — Tucker 3-9 2-4 8, Deverteuil 4-6 4-5 12, Hill 2-6 2-6 8, Carson 7-7 0-0 15, Gould 2-4 2-2 6, Stevenson 1-2 0-0 3, McDonnell 1-1 1-1 3, Landers 0-0 0-0 0, Vandervort 0-1 0-0 0, Roether 0-1 0-0 0, Kaufman 0-2 0-0 0, Lundy 0-0 0-0 0, Haerle 0-0 0-0 0, Brent 0-1 2-2 2, Koch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-40 13-20 57.
LA SALLE-PERU (36) — Skoog 0-1 0-0 0, Kupperschmid 2-9 0-1 5, Weber 1-3 0-0 2, Tubbs 6-12 0-1 12, Lynch 2-6 0-0 4, T. Hartman 0-1 0-2 0, Lenkaitis 2-4 0-3 5, Z. Hartman 0-1 0-0 0, Huber 2-3 1-2 7, Bollis 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 15-40 2-11 36.
Ottawa (20-2, 9-1) 18 11 19 9 — 57
La Salle-Peru (7-16, 1-8) 8 8 7 13 — 36
3-point goals — Ottawa 4-18 (Tucker 0-5, Deverteuil 0-1, Hill 2-5, Carson 1-1, Gould 0-1, Stevenson 1-2, Vandervort 0-1, Kaufman 0-1, Brent 0-1); La Salle-Peru 4-12 (Kupperschmid 1-5, Weber 0-1, Lynch 0-1, Lenkaitis 1-2, Huber 2-3). Rebounds — Ottawa 17 (Deverteuil 4); La Salle-Peru 34 (Tubbs 9, T. Hartman 5). Assists — Ottawa 15 (Hill 8); La Salle-Peru 6 (Kupperschmid 3). Steals — Ottawa 12 (Hill 5); La Salle-Peru 5 (five players one each). Blocks — Ottawa 2 (Carson 1, Haerle 1); La Salle-Peru 2 (Tubbs 1, Z. Hartman 1). Turnovers — Ottawa 10, La Salle-Peru 23. Total fouls (none fouled out) — Ottawa 13, La Salle-Peru 20. Technicals — Skoog, La Salle-Peru bench, T. Hartman, Hill.