Dowagiac’s Gavin Taylor (right) puts up a shot against South Haven Tuesday night. Taylor scored 13 points in the Chieftains’ 85-77 Wolverine Conference victory over the Rams. (Daily News Photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Archived Story

Highsmith nets 32 in victory

Published 11:22pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dowagiac boys basketball player Dontel Highsmith wasn’t happy with his play in an 11-point performance last Friday in a loss to Vicksburg.

He took his frustrations out on South Haven on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-2 junior standout scored 32 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Chieftains past the Rams, 85-77, in Wolverine Conference action.

“Dontel had a good performance tonight,” said Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt, whose team improved to 13-6 overall and 11-3 in the Wolverine Conference. “He was kind of down on himself after his performance against Vicksburg last week. He had open looks (against Vicksburg). Shots just didn’t fall. He’s been putting in a little extra work before and after practice trying to get back on top of his game. He came out and led us tonight.”

Highsmith’s 3-pointer gave Dowagiac the lead for good at 71-69 with 3:27 left in the game. He scored the Chieftains final 10 points of the game with seven of those points coming at the free throw line. Dowagiac scored the final five points of the game with Highsmith going 5-of-6 at the line in the final :17. With :06 left and the Chieftains owning an 82-77 lead, South Haven coach Jamin Olds was issued two technicals. Highsmith made 3-of-4 technical foul shots.

There were eight lead changes and two ties in the second half. The eight-point margin at the end was the biggest lead in the second half. Dowagiac took a 38-33 lead into halftime with Davion Highsmith’s basket as time expired accounting for the final points of the first half.

Tyler Clark scored 14 points, Gavin Taylor added 13 and Kyle Solloway totaled 12 for Dowagiac. Taylor and Solloway did their scoring off the bench. In the fourth quarter, Clark scored seven points and Taylor had six.

Highsmith and Taylor each grabbed five rebounds to lead the Chieftains, who were outrebounded, 33-19. South Haven owned a 13-3 rebounding advantage in the first quarter and a 23-9 edge on the boards at halftime.

“The rebounding aspect was the whole halftime conversation,” Hunt said. “We weren’t boxing out and we were doing a lot of ball watching. Even the 50-50 balls we weren’t going after. We were able to come out (in the second half)and do a little better on the boards.”

Dowagiac came up with some big rebounds in the fourth quarter as Taylor, Eric Charles and Highsmith came up with clutch offensive rebound baskets.

“Wow,”  Hunt said about his team’s scoring off of offensive rebounding in the fourth quarter. “That was huge. Eric Charles played big there towards the end. Gavin Taylor played big in the middle and Solloway came off the bench and played big. All the kids played big and fulfilled their roles. We talked before the game about playing for each other and playing together.”

It was a much needed win for the Chieftains, who had lost their last two games.

“I’ve been learning a lot about my team in the last few weeks,” Hunt said. “One thing I’ve learned is that they have heart and don’t give up. Even tonight, with the momentum shifts, the kids kept playing through it and we’re focused and were able to get the job done. I think we’re starting to come together and getting to where we need to be going into tournament time.”

Brian Harris scored 33 points to lead South Haven, which dropped to 11-7 overall and 8-6 in the league.

SOUTH HAVEN 77

Tony Canonie 1 2-2 4,  Skyler Cornstalk 4 2-2 11, Jerry Gist 2 3-3 7, Brian Harris 13 3-3 33, Ryan Dorow 0 0-0 0, Josh Preston 9 2-2 20, Chris Grays 0 0-0 0, Malik Broady 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 30 12-12 77

DOWAGIAC 85

Dontel Highsmith 8 14-16 32, Brendon Murray 2 0-0 6, Tyler Clark 6 0-0 14, Eric Charles 3 0-0 6, Craig Zebell 0 0-0 0, Joe Pasternak 0 0-0 0, Kyle Solloway 5 1-1 12, Gavin Taylor 6 0-0 13, Davion Highsmith 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 31 15-17 85

South Haven 23 33 51 77

Dowagiac 25 38 53 85

3-point baskets: South Haven 5 (Harris 4, Cornstalk), Dowagiac 8 (Highsmith 2, Murray 2, Clark 2, Solloway, Taylor). Total fouls (fouled out): South Haven 14 (none), Dowagiac 13 (none). Technicals: South Haven 2 (coach). Shooting: South Haven 30-of-57 for 53-percent, Dowagiac 31-of-61 for 51-percent. Rebounding: South Haven 33 (Preston 9), Dowagiac 19 (Highsmith and Taylor 5 each). Turnovers: South Haven 17, Dowagiac 12. Varsity records: South Haven 11-7, 8-6 Wolverine; Dowagiac 13-6, 11-3 Wolverine. J.V. score: South Haven 82, Dowagiac 49

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