Dowagiac advances to finalsPublished 10:07pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011
BENTON HARBOR — It may not have been artistic, but the Dowagiac boys basketball team is still undefeated and will play tonight in the championship game of the Earl McKee Holiday Basketball Classic.
Dontel Highsmith hit 11-of-13 free throws in the second half to help the Chieftains (4-0) stave off a comeback bid by Detroit PEC Tuesday night as Dowagiac pulled away to a 65-53 victory.
The Chieftains will take on the winner of the Benton Harbor-Bridgman game today at 8 p.m.
It was a game that featured a quick start by the Chieftains and although Detroit PEC hung around the entire night, it never seemed as if it had enough to overtake Dowagiac.
The Chieftains built a 33-21 halftime lead despite the loss of leading scorer Highsmith for nearly the entire second quarter.
Highsmith put Dowagiac up 21-12 with 6:10 to play in the first half, but then had to leave the game due to a cut on his left arm. While it didn’t take much time to get the cut taped up, it did take nearly the entire six minutes to get his jersey cleaned.
He returned to the game in the closing seconds with the Chieftains owning a 33-21 advantage.
“I will tell you this, that was huge,” Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt said of the second-quarter performance of his team. “I’m confident in those guys being out there and their ability to do that. Dontel has had some extraordinary games the first few games, but we always play as a team and we are a team. I am confident in their ability to score and get it done.
They stepped up huge tonight. That was important because I want others to see that we are not just one dimensional as far as our offense goes and we can get points from anybody.”
The Chieftains were able to stretch their lead a bit in the third quarter and led 47-33 heading into the final period.
Detroit PEC (2-1) made a run at Dowagiac in the final eight minutes, cutting the lead down to eight points (47-39) on a 3-pointer by Marcus Berry with six and a half minutes to play and then down to seven points (56-49) on another triple by Berry with 3:11 left in the contest.
Tyler Clark scored off a Detroit PEC turnover to make it 58-49 with 1:54 left in the game and Dowagiac made its free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Highsmith went to the line 11 times in the fourth quarter and coverted on nine of those attempts. The Chieftains were 10-of-17 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
Despite missing over six minutes in the first half, Highsmith still led all scorers with 21 points. Dowagiac also got 15 points from Brendon Murray and nine points from Eric Charles.
Berry finished with 18 points for Detroit PEC and Terry Miller 16.
DETROIT PEC 53
Terry Miller 7 2-8 16; Nicholas Redmond 1 0-0 2; Terrick Griffin 1 0-0 2; Marcus Berry 7 0-0 18; Immanuel Davis 1 1-2 3; Corey Evans 1 0-0 2; Matthew Miller 0 0-0 0; Phillip Hodges 1 0-0 2; Ronnie Biggs 1 2-2 4; Antoine Long 0 2-2 2; Keith Sykes 1 0-1 2. TOTALS: 21 7-15 53
Dontel Highsmith 5 11-13 21; Craig Zebell 3 2-2 8; Joey Pasternak 2 0-0 4; Brendon Murray 5 2-4 15; Tyler Clark 4 0-0 8; Matt Smith 1 0-0 2; Eric Charles 4 1-5 9. TOTALS: 24 16-24
Detroit 12 21 33 53
Dowagiac 15 33 47 65
3-point baskets: Detroit 4 (Berry 4), Dowagiac 3 (Murray 3). Total fouls (fouled out): Detroit 18 (none), Dowagiac 12 (none). Varsity records: Detroit PEC 2-1, Dowagiac 4-0