Top two teams in Wolverine squaring offPublished 4:58pm Monday, January 21, 2013
The two best teams in the Wolverine Conference square off tonight for bragging rights only.
Dowagiac, ranked No. 6 in the latest Associated Press poll and Otsego, ranked No. 9 will meet on the Bulldogs’ home floor.
The Chieftains, leaders of the West Division and 9-1 overall, take on Otsego, which leads the East Division and is 8-1 overall.
The two teams are no strangers to each other. In recent years, the Chieftains and Bulldogs have slugged it out for the Wolverine Conference championship. Since the league expanded and split into two divisions, both appear headed for a title.
Tonight’s match-up features the speed and athleticism of Dowagiac against the size of Otsego.
“Otsego is a good team,” Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt said. “They have been since we have been a part of the Wolverine Conference. We are excited about getting a chance to face them. This is a really good challenge for us.
“They have size. With them having size puts us at a disadvantage. But their size also puts them at a disadvantage because we feel we can use our speed against them.”
There are a trio of players that Dowagiac will have to keep an eye on tonight.
Reid Dugan has been one of the outstanding players in the Wolverine Conference for the past three years, while his younger brother Seth Dugan, who stands 6-foot-10, is a rather large obstacle the Chieftains must deal with.
Michael Williams is a solid scorer for the Bulldogs and will need to be contained.
“We are going to have to put some focus on Reid Dugan (6-8), who is playing solid basketball and has always caused us difficulty. But if we front the post and box out, we will be in good shape. Williams has been shooting the ball well from the outside. I watched him perform well on the JV and knew he was going to be a player for them.”
Dowagiac is of course led by All-Stater Dontel Highsmith, who is coming off a 49-point performance against Berrien Springs. The Chieftains are more than just Highsmith. His brother Davion has strung together some impressive games, while Kyle Solloway and D.J. Hunt are also capable of putting up big numbers at the offensive end.
“On the offensive side we are not going to change anything,” Danum Hunt said. “It if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We are going to play fast.”
Hunt also said this game will have a different feel to it.
“I like the fact that this is a big game,” he said. “It’s the time of year we need to start focusing on getting prepared for the start of the tournament. This is a good match-up that comes at a real good time.”
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.