When last La Salle met McDevitt, a supporter of the Explorers gently teased Jake Timby’s choice of pregame footwear as the junior warmed up in boat shoes during the junior varsity contest Jan. 4 at La Salle.
Perhaps after Wednesday night at the Palestra, more Explorers will be attired nattily in pregame Sperrys.
Timby tied for a team-best 14 points and finished 4 of 5 from behind the three-point line in the Explorers’ 49-41 victory against McDevitt in the Catholic League semifinals. La Salle, competing for its first PCL championship since 1991, will face Roman Catholic on Monday night at the Palestra.
Senior Rice recruit Zach Crisler also added 14 points, including nine in the second half. Princeton recruit Konrad Kiszka, saddled with early foul trouble, added nine points and eight rebounds.
This season, Timby, a 5-foot-11 shooter who came off the bench for the JV team last year, has taken to shooting his pregame jumpers in boat shoes.
It was a superstition born from forgetfulness. He forgot to bring an extra pair of sneakers before the first game of the season, he said, so he had no choice.
Monday night, the Explorers will face defending champion Roman Catholic, which defeated Neumann-Goretti, 72-66, in game two of the doubleheader at the nearly-packed Palestra.
Chris Ings led the Saints (18-6) with 28 points. Hakim Hart led Roman with 26.
Fans of the Cahillites (20-5) looking to help their team may also buy all the Swedish Fish near La Salle, another pregame ritual that Timby began this season.
McDevitt was throttled, 58-35, at La Salle on Jan. 4. On Thursday night, the Lancers were sluggish early, but finished the first half with a fury.
La Salle, which led 11-4 early, nursed a four-point edge with about 1 minute, 40 seconds left in the half. A 90-second Explorers filibuster designed to ensure the final shot, however, ended with a swing in momentum.
Junior Jamil Manigo tipped a late La Salle pass into the hands of fellow junior Seneca Willoughby, who led Manigo with a pass that resulted in a layup and an ovation by the Lancers faithful, who minutes earlier had booed the Explorers’ choice of strategy.
The Lancers (18-6) eventually rode that momentum and took their first lead, 28-27, with 4 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
Manigo led the Lancers with 13 points and eight rebounds. Kiszka and Timby, however, made plays late to give La Salle the lead for good.
A Kiszka layup gave La Salle a 41-39 edge late. His rebound and long outlet after a McDevitt missed free throw hit Timby deep for a layup and a four-point lead with 1 minute, 1 second left.
Allen Powell (10 points), who finished 8 of 8 from the foul line, put the game out of reach.
La Salle 13 10 12 14 49
McDevitt 8 13 10 10 41
LS: Allen Powell 10, Titus Beard 2, Konrad Kiszka 9, Jake Timby 14, Zach Crisler 14.
McD: Robert Smith 6, Jamil Manigo 13, Seneca Willoughby 4, Cameron Gardner 8, Ahmir Harris 3, Shamir Mosley 7.
Roman 15 13 16 28 72
Neumann-Goretti 11 20 16 19 66
R: Lynn Greer III 19, Seth Lundy 11, Justice Williams 4, Hakim Hart 26, Jalen Duren 12.
NG: Chris Ings 28, Hakim Byrd 13, Ja’Cor Smith 6, Chris Evans 6, Jordan Hall 5, Cameron Young 8.