Bulldogs edge Chieftains
Published 11:48 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The position of second place in the Wolverine Conference became a shoot out between Dowagiac and Otsego Tuesday night with the visitors prevailing 85-84 behind the 43-point effort of star guard Jared Klein.
Otsego (12-3, 11-3) started hot with senior Nolan Potter and Klein connecting on 3-pointers for a 12-6 advantage midway through the first quarter and the latter did not miss any shots for the visitors in the first eight minutes.
Dowagiac (9-6, 9-4) kept up with Klein as the senior Butcher brothers (Tremail and Troy) were keeping pace to deadlock the score at 20 apiece after the first quarter. Tremail had eight points to lead the Chieftains.
Neither team had more than a three-point lead the entire second stanza and Otsego went into intermission with a 40-37 advantage behind 20 points by Klein and a dozen by Potter. Tremail scored 11 markers for Dowagiac as six other teammates reached the scoring column.
After being perfect from the free throw line on all 10 attempts in the first half, Otsego’s practice became crucial as they went to the charity stripe 41 times total and was successful on 31 tosses.
Troy Butcher had the hot hand from the field in the second half as he scored five strikes from behind the arc, Dontel Highsmith was perfect with all his nine free throws and Darius Wilson grabbed 13 rebounds in the second half alone to keep Dowagiac close.
“Troy Butcher played his best game of his career, both offensively and defensively,” stated Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt. “Both Darius (Wilson) and Dontel (Highsmith) are big time players, but all the guys gave great effort.”
Dowagiac beat Otsego 69-62 earlier this year and that game was close until the final minute, but Otsego capitalized on how the basketball bounced and came away the victors as Klein, Potter and 6-7 sophomore Reid Dugan were stalwarts down the stretch. Potter finished with 19 points and Dugan had 14 points with seven rebounds.
“Everybody stepped up tonight and enjoyed coaching my one game, but this is it,” noted Bruce Esterline, who filled in for Otsego coach Mark Haase.
Highsmith scored 25 points and tried to miss his last free throw with .1 second on the clock for a chance for a tying tip-in but the ball rolled through the hoop instead.
Troy Butcher, Wilson and Tremail Butcher had 23, 12 and 11 points respectively.
“We played hard, but the ball and calls did not go our way at times and it was tough loss,” concluded Hunt. “Klein was upset by losing to us earlier this year, so he was fired up for this game.”
The junior varsity picked up a victory for the fifth time with a 16-4 fourth quarter comeback in a 49-43 contest with Otsego.
Joey Paternak led the Chiefs with 17 points followed by 11 for Chris Gantt. Michael Kiel had 16 points for the Otsego.
Jared Klein 11 15-19 43; Nolan Potter 4 9-10 19; Reid Dugan 4 6-8 14; Carl Nord 3 1-2 7; Kyle Weber 1 0-0 2; Collin Ahrens 0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 23 31-41 85
Dontel Highsmith 7 11-11 25; Troy Butcher 8 0-0 23; Darius Wilson 4 4-6 12; Tremail Butcher 4 0-0 11; Jason Turner 2 0-0 6; Christopher Craft 2 1-1 5; D.J. Hunt 1 0-0 2; Eric Charles 0 0-2 0; Tyler Clark 0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 28 16-22 84
Otsego 20 40 55 85
Dowagiac 20 37 57 84
3-point baskets: Otsego 6 (Klein 4, Potter 2), Dowagiac 10 (Troy Butcher 5, Tremail Butcher 3, Turner 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Otsego 19 (Nate Kirkpatrick), Dowagiac 27 (Tremail Butcher). Rebounding: Otsego 31 (Klein 8), Dowagiac 26 (Wilson 14). Varsity records: Otsego 12-3, 11-3 Wolverine; Dowagiac 9-6, 9-4 Wolverine