Highsmith triple-double leads Dowagiac past RamsPublished 8:35am Saturday, December 15, 2012
For the second consecutive game, the Dowagiac boys basketball was on a mission.
Tuesday night in Vicksburg, the Chieftains took care of the Bulldogs, who had upset them last season.
Friday night it was South Haven’s turn.
And while Dowagiac got the job done with a 69-64 Wolverine Conference West Division victory over the visiting Rams Friday night, Chieftain coach Danum Hunt said his team was just plain bad at times.
“They wanted to win and they wanted to win from the beginning, but I think we had a portion of the game where we just played bad,” Hunt said. “We didn’t make shots, we didn’t rebound and we missed free thows. We didn’t rotate well on defense.
“But I am happy that we always talk in practice about dealing with adversity. We walk about how there is going to be some slow times. There’s going to be some humps. You just get over them and you come back. Tonight we were able to regroup and we pulled out the win.”
Led by a triple double by senior Dontel Highsmith, the Chieftains were able to withstand a fourth quarter rally by the Rams, which helped erase the taste in Dowagiac’s mouth from last year’s district loss to South Haven.
The all-stater got plenty of help down the stretch.
After South Haven had erased several double digit Chieftain leads and had taken a 61-59 lead on a 3-pointer by Ryan Darow with 3:08 remaining, Dowagiac shifted back into high gear and regained control of the contest.
A pair of free throws by D.J. Hunt deadlocked the game at 61 with 2:31 showing on the clock. A pass from Hunt to Davion Highsmith for an easy basket gave Dowagiac back the lead for good (63-61) with 1:40 to play.
The score came after Kyle Solloway had grabbed a offensive rebounds for the Chieftains.
Then it was Dontel Highsmith’s turn. His basket made it a four points lead and when Davion Highmith connected on two free throws, the lead was six.
South Haven would get a 3-pointer from Brian Harris, the game’s leading scorer with 24, but that would be as close as the Rams would get.
Dowagiac (4-0, 2-0 West) dominated the game at times. After talking a 19-12 first quarter lead, the Chieftains hovered around a 10-point bulge for much of the second period before settling for a 37-29 advantage at halftime.
In the third quarter, Solloway took over for the Chieftains, scoring 10 of Dowagiac’s 20 points. And when South Haven cut Dowagiac’s lead to 39-38, his three-point play extended the lead to 42-38 and sparked a Chieftain rally.
His basket off an offensive rebound gave Dowagiac a 51-40 lead with 2:57 remaining in the quarter. By the end of the third period, the Chieftains led 57-44.
“Kyle’s effort was huge tonight,” Hunt said. “Kyle is that kind of player. Kyle sometimes lays back and defers to Dontel and his other teammates. However, Kyle is a blue collar player. He will do the hard work. He will go get the rebounds. He will get on the floor and get the loose balls. He came up big tonight.”
Dontel Highsmith finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks to lead the Chieftains, who also got 15 points and 10 rebounds from Solloway. Highsmith also dished out five assists and had five steals.
Besides Harris’ total, the Rams got 14 points from Marquiz Dixon and 13 points from Dorow.
Dontel Highsmith 23, D.J. Hunt 9, Tyler Clark 3, Brendon Murray 4, Davion Highsmith 6, Kyle Solloway 15, Joey Pasternak 4, Bryce Dodd 5. TOTALS 25 14-24 69
SOUTH HAVEN 64
Brian Harris 24, Tony Canonie 5, Ryan Dorow 13, Chris Davis 4, Marquiz Dixon 14, Miguel Robinson 0, Kashawn Echols 0, Malik Broady 4, Keylonte Gaines 0. TOTALS 23 14-20 64
South Haven 12 29 44 64
Dowagiac 19 37 57 69
3-point baskets: Dowagiac 5 (Do. Highsmith 2, Hunt 1, Clark 1, Dodd 1, South Haven 4 (Dorow 3, Harris 1). Total fouls (fouled out): South Haven 21 (Dorow, Canonie), Dowagiac 16 (none). Varsity records: Dowagiac 4-0, 2-0 West South Haven 3-1, 1-1 West