- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - For all its misses and misfires, Galena Park North Shore got two things right in its Class 5A semifinal against DeSoto: defense and clutch free throw shooting at the end.

North Shore’s pressure defense forced 26 DeSoto turnovers and Jarrey Foster and Kerwin Roach made four free throws over the final 18 seconds in a 48-45 victory that saw DeSoto have two late chances to tie.

North Shore (34-3) got the win despite shooting 26 percent and scoring just 15 points over the second and third quarters Friday.

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When the offense wasn’t working, coach David Green Jr., just dialed up the pressure defense as far as it could go.

“We’ve had games like this before,” Green said. “Even when we didn’t score, we knew we could create turnovers.”

No turnover was bigger than Foster’s steal from DeSoto’s Cedric Carson - it was more like a blocked shot that Foster grabbed with both hands - Foster, who had scored 10 points in the first quarter but had been struggling with a sore elbow the entire second half, made two free throws for a three point lead.

Carson then cut it to one with a baseline layup before North Shore got the ball to Roach who was fouled and made both free throws. DeSoto then committed yet another turnover when Takedrick Brown was called for travelling.

That still didn’t quite seal the victory for North Shore.

DeSoto (31-4) had a last desperate chance when Roach tossed the inbounds pass to no one and the ball bounced toward North Shore’s basket. DeSoto’s Julian Miranda chased it down and quickly pulled it back for an off-balance 3-pointer. The shot missed but North Shore knocked it out of bounds with .7 seconds left. Miranda’s final fall-away 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short.

“We gave them a chance,” Green said. “We could have been sitting here crying.”

Foster finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Etienne and Jalin Hart each scored 11 for North Shore. Roach, North Shore’s leading scorer this season, didn’t score until making two free throws with 1:39 to play that put North Shore ahead 42-41.

DeSoto briefly retook the lead on a dunk by Devin Wyatt before Hart made two free throws to give North Shore the lead for good. Terry Maston, who has signed with Baylor, led DeSoto with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

North Shore turned DeSoto’s 26 turnovers (15 in the second half) into 22 points.

“They came after us. We didn’t handle the ball well. We’ve been pressed before,” said DeSoto coach Chris Dyer, who led the school to the 2009 state championship.

Both teams opened the game at a frantic pace, pressing and pushing the ball in transition. Brown made consecutive 3-pointers to open the game for DeSoto. Foster scored 10 in a 13-2 run that sent North Shore into the second leading 17-14.

The pace slowed down from there. North Shore pushed its lead to 24-18 before DeSoto closed the quarter with a 10-1 run. Brown made his third 3-pointer of the half and Dominique Thomas’ layup gave DeSoto a 28-25 at halftime.

The slowdown continued in the third. North Shore missed seven consecutive shots in one sequence and DeSoto pushed its lead as high as 32-25 when Maston had a tip-in basket then followed it with a block on a layup. North Shore was just 2 of 17 shooting in the period but still managed to pull back within 34-32 to start the fourth.

Brown was clearly frustrated DeSoto wilted under the pressure of North Shore’s defense in the second half.

“Nobody was coming back to help,” Brown said. “We should have calmed down and played our game.”

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