Frustrated after his team’s one-point victory over Waggener on Wednesday, Doss High School boys’ basketball coach Tony Williams saw his team “grow up” Friday.
The Dragons jumped out to a 15-point lead early in the second quarter and — despite some shaky free-throw shooting — maintained control throughout for a 57-45 victory over DeSales in the quarterfinals of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley.
It was a start contrast from Wednesday, when the Dragons built a 19-point lead over Waggener before escaping with a 63-62 victory.
“We had a sour taste in our mouth from the way we finished the first LIT game we played,” Williams said. “In a way I knew that would be a blessing because had we won by 20 or so … it would have been much harder to get them to focus for this game. It felt like we lost that first game.”
Doss (14-2) got big performances from its “Big Three” of seniors Dujuanta Weaver (18 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals), Terrell Gray (16 points, four steals) and Tyler Jefferson (16 points, three blocks) to run its winning streak to seven. The Dragons will face Bullitt East in Saturday’s 10 a.m. semifinal.
Chase Shellman had 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists to lead DeSales (14-4), which shot just 34.6 percent (18 of 52) and committed 15 turnovers.
“I liked our effort, but when you make 4 out of 21 3-pointers and turn it over that many times and don’t get to the line … it’s tough,” Colts coach Tom Crews said.
Weaver scored seven points as Doss jumped to an 11-0 lead, and Gray hit a trio of 3-pointers as the Dragons took a 22-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Gray finished 3 of 7 from 3-point range.
“I knew if we got going early it would be a long day for (DeSales),” Gray said. “I hit the first one, and after that the other ones were in rhythm and felt good, too. The team told me to keep shooting.”
Jefferson’s 3-point play gave Doss its biggest lead, 48-31, with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter before DeSales made a push. Jaxon Burgess’ 3-pointer pulled the Colts within 50-42 with 2:15 remaining. Burgess had a chance to pull DeSales closer when he got a clear path for a layup at the 1:38 mark, but Jefferson came from behind to block the shot.
Doss hit just 6 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter, but DeSales never got closer than eight points.
Now it’s on to Saturday as Doss tries to reach the LIT final for just the second time in history. The Dragons fell to Ballard 70-53 in the 2007 final.
“We still have business to take care of,” Gray said. “It isn’t over yet. We want to win it all.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
Doss (14-2) – Weaver 18, McCarley 1, Hall 1, Anderson 2, Franklin 2, Gray 16, McCloud 1, Jefferson 16.
DeSales (14-4) – Sullivan 3, Burgess 5, Schurfranz 6, Sievert 10, Saylor 4, Shellman 17.
3-point goals – Weaver 2, Gray 3; Burgess, Sievert 2, Shellman.