Dowagiac wins Wolverine Conference crown
SOUTH HAVEN — The fourth time was the charm for the Dowagiac boys basketball team.
The Chieftains finally captured that elusive Wolverine Conference Championship under head coach Danum Hunt as visiting Dowagiac edged South Haven 48-46 Thursday night.
It was Dowagiac’s second conference championship, but its first since the league went to divisions.
The win also avenged a 66-61 loss to the Rams on Feb. 8.
“It was a battle back and forth all night,” Hunt said. “It was back and forth.”
The Chieftains (17-3) led 43-38 with 4:11 to play in the game, but had to hold off a furious South Haven rally to claim the championship.
The Rams (16-4) kept within striking distance of Dowagiac in the closing minutes, but the Chieftain hit enough free throws down the stretch to get the win.
It was a low scoring affair, thanks in part to Hunt’s decision to play a zone defense against South Haven.
“We started out attempting to play our game with a high tempo, press and run, but and that kept the game going back and forth,” Hunt said. “I had decided to slow the game down and go to a zone. They struggled to hit shots from the outside, so once we regained the lead I went into a zone and we were able to hold it from there.
“We made them shoot from the outside, which they didn’t do very well and this time we were able to get an edge in rebounding. I told the guys we had to do a better job on the board because they killed us on the board the first time. We were able to win the rebound battle and sink some free throws and that worked to our advantage.”
Keoante Blackamore, one of two Dowagiac players with broken noses, discarded his mask for the game and scored 21 points to lead all scorers.
Harry Reed added 11 points, while Brandon Winchester-Jones, who is the other Chieftain wearing a protective mask, finished with six points. Jamin Hunt also had six points.
Spencer Adams led South Haven with 16 points. DaShaan Palmer added 10.
“This is huge for us,” Hunt said of the championship. “We have been to the conference championship three times before last night. This time we were able to come away with the victory.”
DOWAGIAC 48, SOUTH HAVEN 46
At South Haven
Harry Reed 11, DeYonte Sullivan 1, Brandon Winchester-Jones 6, Leroy Lewis 1 1-3 3, Keoante Blackamore 8 5-10 21, Jamin Hunt 2 0-0 6. Totals: 16 11-19 48.
SOUTH HAVEN 46
Jerome Mahone 0 2-2 2, James Hedges 2 0-2 4, Spencer Adams 5 3-4 16, Gist 1 0-0 2, Jesse Morrison 0 1-2 1, Joe Wilkins 1 0-0 3, Chris Herrera 1 0-0 2, Armani May 3 0-0 6, DaShaan Palmer 5 0-0 10. Totals: 18 6-10 46.
Dowagiac 7 20 33 48
South Haven 8 17 30 46
3-point baskets: Dowagiac 5 (Reid 3, Hunt 2), South Haven 4 (Adams 3, Wilkins); Total fouls (fouled out): Dowagiac 13 (none), South Haven 18 (none); Records: Dowagiac 17-3, South Haven 16-4.