Dowagiac overcomes deficit to rout EddiesPublished 8:39am Saturday, January 12, 2013
For the first 12 and a half minutes of Friday night’s Wolverine Conference West Division showdown between visiting Edwardsburg and Dowagiac it was all Eddies.
Unfortunately for Edwardsburg, the rest of the game belonged to the Chieftains.
Trailing 25-13 with 4:25 left in the first half, Dowagiac went on a 61-29 run over the remainder of the contest on its way to a 71-54 victory.
The win gave Dowagiac sole possession of first place in the West Division and improved the Chieftains to 7-1 on the season.
Behind the shooting of senior Josh Kozinski, the Eddies were able to open up a 14-point cushion (19-5) with 2:24 to play in the opening quarter. Kozinski had 10 of his 20 points during that run.
Dowagiac slowly started to chip away at the Edwardsburg lead, but still trailed by 12 midway through the second quarter.
With Kyle Solloway slowing down Kozinski at the offensive end, Chieftain senior Dontel Highsmith began to make his present felt.
Dowagiac’s all-time leading scoring (1,586) scored six points in the final three minutes of the first half as the Chieftains turned up the pressure on the Eddies. And when Brendon Murray scored on an offensive rebound with 0.6 seconds showing on the clock, Edwardsburg’s lead had dwindled to 30-25.
The end of the first half was just a preview of what was about to come.
Dowagiac came out and poured in 30 points in a spectacular third quarter that had the nearly packed house buzzing and Edwardsburg coach Dan Gunn looking for answers.
“We got off to a good start,” Gunn said. “We kind of controlled them. But we let the animal out of the bag there in the second half. They got some offensive rebounds. And then No. 32 (D.J. Hunt) came out and hit some 3-pointers. That kind of opened it up for them. The magic began to appear on their side. And Highsmith was really aggressive.”
Hunt opened the second half with a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 30-28. Back-to-back basket by Highsmith gave the Chieftains the lead. His first basket came on an offensive rebound, while his second was a steal and dunk that got the Dowagiac crowd back into the game.
The Eddies would tie the game at 32-32 with 5:28 to play in the third quarter before a 6-0 Dowagiac run gave the Chieftains to the lead for good.
Highsmith finished with 15 of his game-high 29 points in the quarter as the Chieftains built up a 55-43 lead going to the fourth quarter.
Dowagiac continued to pull away in the final eight minutes, outscoring Edwardsburg 17-11.
Friday night’s slow start really wasn’t a concern for Chieftain coach Danum Hunt, who said his team was a little rusty due to the holiday break.
“The first half I will attribute to a long layoff,” Hunt said. “We hadn’t played in almost two weeks, so we came out a little rusty in the first half. When the second half came around, I knew our tempo would be too much for them. I knew they couldn’t do that for four quarters. We were able to turn up the intensity … turn up the heat. It was the best defensive effort I have seen in a long time out of this team.”
Highsmith just missed a triple-double as he also had 12 rebounds, nine assists and five steals. Solloway finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four blocks, while Hunt added 13 points for Dowagiac.
Josh Kozinski 8 2-2 20, Patrick Harvey 3 1-2 7, Eric Richardson 1 0-0 2, Jason Schimpa 3 0-0 8, Dylan Hulett 1 2-3 5, Dante Razzano 1 0-0 2, Matt Griesinger 2 0-0 4, Jackson Gaideski 3 0-0 6. TOTALS 22 5-7 54
Dontel Highsmith 12 5-5 29, D.J. Hunt 4 2-3 13, Brendon Murray 1 0-0 2, Davion Highsmith 2 0-0 4, Kyle Solloway 8 0-1 16, Joey Pasternak 2 0-0 5, Tyler Clark 0 1-3 1, Bryce Dodd 1 0-0 2, Trace Hatcher 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 30 8-12 72
Edwardsburg 19 30 43 54
Dowagiac 9 25 55 72
3-point goals: Edwardsburg 5 (Kozinski 2, Schimpa 2, Hulett 1), Dowagiac 4 (Hunt 3, Pasternak 1). Total fouls (fouled out): Dowagiac 12 (none), Edwardsburg 12 (none). Varsity records: Dowagiac 7-1, Edwardsburg 6-2