De La Salle 6-5 junior center Brandon Hutton isn’t used to coming off the bench. Since it was Senior Night against Brother Rice Friday, Hutton sat out the first four minutes to make way for the five senior starters.
Hutton wasn’t able to assert himself offensively until the third quarter when he scored 11 of his 21 points in leading the Meteors to a 64-61 Catholic South win.
That third was pivotal for the the Meteors (9-9, 6-3) when they took the lead for good despite the Crusaders (10-11, 4-6) challenging the entire fourth.
“It was a big adjustment, but I had to get through it and be ready to play,” Hutton said. “It was my team that got me going. They were playing hard and playing defense, and they got me hyped.”
Hutton got the crowd hyped in the second quarter when he flushed down an alley-oop on a fast break pass from Martez Cameron.
The Meteors trailed 24-16 early in the quarter but regained the lead 27-26 at the half.
Ray Rubio and Quinn Niego kept the Crusaders within striking distance all night. Rubio finished with 24 points and Niego added 22. A three-pointer by Rubio gave the Crusaders their last lead of the night, 31-30.
The Meteors took the lead for good with an 8-0 run and kept the Crusaders at bay in the fourth, shooting 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. Cameron was 7-for-8 and finished with 11 points. Karl Harris added 11 while Aaron Jones scored 10.
An off balance and well-contested game-tying three at the buzzer by Niego went way right. The Crusaders pulled within one on three occasions in the fourth quarter.
“The seniors had the chance to get their names called and I think that’s important,” De La Salle coach Thomas White said. “They played real hard and the one senior hit that three and we won that three.”
That senior was Matt Castillo, who hit a three in the first quarter before giving way to the three junior starters — Harris, Cameron and Hutton.
“We had the ball in the hands of the kids who shoot free throws well,” White said, “I think we are playing both ends of the floor a lot better than we did a five weeks ago. We’re really sharing the ball and doing some good things.