"I wanted to keep him from penetrating," Kelly said. "I wanted him to shoot a three-pointer or long jumper instead of him getting into the lane."
Kelly, who nailed a second-quarter three-pointer, is 6-0 against La Salle, including freshman ball.
"P.J. is a tough kid, and he's very quick," Hawks coach Speedy Morris said. "We don't look for him to score that much, but we see him as more than just a role player."
As part of a semifinal doubleheader Wednesday at the Palestra, the Prep, 19-4 and ranked No. 9 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, will face No. 8 Roman Catholic (18-5) at 7 p.m.
Against La Salle, Miles Overton netted 19 of his 26 points in the first half. The Wake Forest recruit totaled 15 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.
"He was really feeling it early on," said Kelly, a second-year starter. "I was looking to get him the ball as much as I could."
The Hawks stormed out to a 14-4 lead and, with a 12-0 burst at the end of the second period, were comfortably in front, 38-16, at the break. From there, the Explorers (15-8) got no closer than 10 points.
Steve Vasturia (23 points, five assists), Chris Clover (13 points, seven boards, three blocks), and Kyle Thompson (eight points, seven boards) were also catalysts.
Stukes, slowed by foul trouble, finished with 18 points, including two threes. He was joined in double figures by Pat Cooney (16) and sub Malik Janifer (10).
Kelly, who played 29 minutes, likely will wind up at Scranton.
"They started recruiting me last summer," the Blue Bell resident said. "I took a visit and really enjoyed it."
La Salle 12 4 17 24 – 57
St. Joseph's Prep 18 20 12 24 – 74
LS: Amar Stukes 18, Pat Cooney 16, Steve Smith 6, Ryan Winslow 7, Malik Janifer 10.
SJP: P.J. Kelly 3, Steve Vasturia 23, Chris Clover 13, Kyle Thompson 8, Miles Overton 26, Dan Nedbal 1.
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