Klein, Highsmith put on a showPublished 11:41pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The two stars of Tuesday night’s Wolverine Conference showdown between visiting Otsego and Dowagiac showed up.
Unfortunately for the Chieftains, the supporting cast struggled and Dowagiac ended up falling to the Bulldogs 86-58.
The loss now sets up a key match-up Friday night when visiting Vicksburg takes on Dowagiac. The Bulldogs entered Tuesday night’s action as the other undefeated team in the league.
Vicksburg defeated Plainwell 62-50 to improve to 4-0 in the league.
Jared Klein of Otsego and Dontel Highsmith of Dowagiac did not disappoint the large crowd at Dowagiac High School.
Klein ended up with 36 points, of which 20 were scored in the first half. Highsmith finished with 30 points, including 24 in the second half.
Poor first half shooting and a lack of a defensive presence in the lane doomed Dowagiac. The Chieftains were just 6-of-36 in the opening 16 minutes and missed 11 layups.
As a result, Otsego was able to jump out to a 15-6 first quarter lead and extended it to 37-16 by halftime.
Klein, who scored a career-high 43 points in Dowagiac’s gym last season, torched the Chieftains for 16 of his 20 first half points in the second quarter when the Bulldogs put the game away.
A different Dowagiac team came out of the locker room in the second half and pumped in 26 points in the third quarter led by Highsmith’s 16. Highsmith, who came into the game averaging 32 points a contest, had just seven at halftime.
But despite the newly found energy by the Chieftains, Dowagiac was unable to cut into the Otsego advantage as the Bulldogs finished with 23 points in the third quarter.
Dowagiac was outscored 26-16 in the final eight minutes of play as Otsego sealed the victory.
“All year I have been preaching to the guys about putting a full game together,” Otsego coach Josh Holmes said. “We have showed signs of one quarter here, a half here. Tonight, we took something we wanted to do and we practiced it and practiced it to put it in the game and I don’t think they could have executed it any better.”
Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt, who knows there is still a lot of basketball yet to be played this season, was not pleased with how his team performed in the first half and on defense in general.
“We got off to a slow start offensively tonight,” he said. “I don’t know, we shot well in practice all week. We shot really well in our shoot around today, but tonight it just didn’t click in that first half there.
“The second half we came out and we started to click a little bit offensively, but defensively our rotations were bad and when you are down that far in the hole you just can’t trade buckets.”
With Dowagiac struggling to rotate correctly on defense, 6-foot-7 junior center Reid Dugan capitalized after spending much of the first half on the bench with early foul problems.
Dugan scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and finished the game with 19 rebounds.
The Bulldogs also got 10 points from Tyler Nast, who helped Otsego get off to its quick start with six points in the opening quarter.
Dowagiac had two players besides Highsmith reach double figures. Brendon Murray and Eric Charles each scored 10 points.
Caleb Rohr 0 2-2 2; Kyle Weber 1 0-0 2; Jacob Lobach 0 0-0 0; A.J. Atwater 3 0-0 6; Tyler Nast 5 0-0 10; Jared Klein 15 5-7 36; Nate Kirkpatrick 2 0-0 4; Luke Ponitz 0 0-0 0; Collin Ahrens 1 0-0 2; Michael Kiel 1 0-0 2; Reid Dugan 9 3-4 21; Zach Radcliff 0 1-2 1; Jeremy Hill 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 37 11-15 86
Dontel Highsmith 12 5-11 30; Davion Highsmith 0 0-0 0; Craig Zebell 0 0-0 0; Joey Pasternak 0 0-3 0; Brendon Murray 3 2-2 10; Tyler Clark 3 1-2 8; Matt Smith 0 0-0 0; Eric Charles 5 0-0 10. TOTALS: 23 8-18 58
Otsego 15 37 60 86
Dowagiac 6 16 42 58
3-point baskets: Otsego 1 (Klein), Dowagiac 4 (Highsmith, Murray 2, Clark). Total fouls (fouled out): Otsego 13 (none), Dowagiac 13 (Charles). Technical fouls: Dowagiac (bench). Varsity records: Otsego 6-0, 5-0 Wolverine; Dowagiac 5-2, 3-1 Wolverine