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Dowagiac’s Dontel Highsmith was held to 12 points Wednesday night as South Haven avenged a pair of earlier losses by eliminating the Chieftains from the state tournament, 50-33. (Daily News Photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Archived Story

Third time not a charm

Published 11:50pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

COLOMA — The Dowagiac boys basketball team picked a bad time to have its worst offensive showing of the season.

South Haven upended the Chieftains, 50-33, in the semifinals Wednesday of the Class B district boys basketball tournament at Coloma High School.

The 33 points is a season-low for defending district champion Dowagiac, which finishes at 16-6. The Chieftains failed in their attempt the beat the Rams (13-8) for the third time this year. During the regular season, Dowagiac beat South Haven, 65-62, and 85-77.

“We were 2-for-16 from the 3-point line and we missed 12 layups,” said Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt. “That’s the game right there.”

The Chieftains struggled the most to put the ball in the basket during the fourth quarter. That allowed South Haven to expand its 33-31 lead after three quarters to 50-31 in the final seconds. Dowagiac’s lone points in the fourth came on a field goal from Davion Highsmith with :28 left in the game. The Chieftains missed their first eight shots in the final quarter and turned the ball over five times. Dowagiac totaled 21 turnovers in the game.

Foul trouble plagued Dowagiac standout Dontel Highsmith, who finished with 12 points, six rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Those 12 points is the second lowest total this season for Highsmith, who needs four points next year to become the schoo’s all-time career scoring leader. Edgar Wilson owns the record with 1,371 points.

“Don’t let Dontel get off,” said South Haven coach Jamin Olds about his team’s defensive strategy for Wednesday. “We played a box-and-1 and wanted to flood to the ball. We rotated three guys on him. It kind of wore them out and kept us a little fresh. It was a great team effort on stopping him.”

South Haven’s defense wasn’t anything new to Dowagiac.

“We’ve seen box-and-1’s all season long,” Hunt said. “They didn’t do anything different from what we’ve seen all year long. It’s the same style of defense that (Highsmith) scored 36 and 40 points on (this year). Tonight, he couldn’t put the ball in the bucket. He also didn’t shoot the ball a lot tonight.”

The Chieftains were also outplayed on the boards as the Rams finished with a 35-20 edge in rebounding. Many offensive rebounds turned into points for South Haven.

“We got killed on the boards tonight,” Hunt said.

South Haven led most of the first half and took its biggest lead of the half at 21-12 after getting a rebound basket from Jerry Gist with 3:00 left in the second quarter.

Dowagiac then ralled and tied the game at 21 after getting a basket from Eric Charles with :47 left before halftime. South Haven went into halftime with a 23-21 lead after Skyler Cornstalk scored with :17 left in the second quarter.

Dowagiac took a 31-30 lead with :35 left in the third quarter after getting a basket in the paint from Davion Highsmith off a beautiful pass from Dontel Highsmith. That would be the Chieftains last time with a lead.

“I don’t know where we were tonight,” Hunt said. “We weren’t here. We had a bad night and an off night offensively.

We never got in sync offensively. We didn’t play Dowagiac basketball. Terrible game.”

Tony Canonie scored seven of his 12 points for South Haven in the fourth quarter. His 3-point play gave the Rams a 38-31 lead with 4:39 left in the game. Josh Preston grabbed 16 rebounds and scored nine points for South Haven.

Dowagiac got more bad news with :51 left in the game when D.J. Hunt left the game with an injury. Hunt just returned to the team for districts. His missed the regular season because of a serious leg injury suffered during the football season.

“He just tweaked his leg a little bit,” Hunt said. “He’ll be fine.”

SOUTH HAVEN 50

Josh Preston 4 1-5 9, Ryan Dorow 0 0-0 0, Skyler Cornstalk 4 0-0 8, Tony Canonie 4 4-6 12, Brian Harris 3 4-6 10, Jerry Gist 5 0-0 10, Christian Davis 0 1-2 1, Caprice Thomas 0 0-0 0, Malik Broady 0 0-0 0, Chris Grays 0 0-0 0, Travis Stricklin 0 0-0 0, Kyle Fitton 0 0-0 0, Marquiz Dixon 0 0-0 0, Dywon Dirden 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20 10-19 50

DOWAGIAC 33

Dontel Highsmith 5 1-1 12, D.J. Hunt 1 0-0 3, Eric Charles 3 0-0 6, Tyler Clark 1 0-2 2, Brendon Murray 1 0-0 2, Kyle Solloway 0 0-0 0, Gavin Taylor 1 0-0 2, Davion Highsmith 3 0-0 6, Craig Zebell 0 0-0 0, Todd McIntyre 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 1-3 33

South Haven 14 23 33 50

Dowagiac 7 21 31 33

3-point baskets: South Haven (none), Dowagiac 2 (Dontel Highsmith, Hunt). Total fouls (fouled out): South Haven 10 (none), Dowagiac 15 (Charles). Shooting: South Haven 20-of-49 for 41-percent), Dowagiac 15-of-44 for 33-percent. Rebounding: South Haven 35 (Preston 16), Dowagiac 20 (Highsmith 6). Turnovers: South Haven 13, Dowagiac 21. Varsity records: South Haven 13-8, Dowagiac 16-6

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