Dowagiac clinches share of West titlePublished 7:37am Saturday, February 16, 2013
EDWARDSBURG – The No. 3-ranked Dowagiac boys basketball team locked up a share of the Wolverine Conference West Division title with a 85-69 victory over host Edwardsburg Friday night.
The Chieftains (15-1, 8-0 West) need to beat either South Haven Monday night or Berrien Springs in their regular season finale Friday night to win the championship outright.
Friday night’s contest was much different from the first meeting between the best two teams in the West. The Eddies jumped out to a double-digit lead in the opening half of the first meeting before the Chieftains roared back and then pulled away to an easy victory.
Dowagiac used a combination of red-hot shooting from the field, and especially from 3-point range, with Dontel Highsmith’s ability to drive the lane and either score, dish off or draw contact and go to the foul line.
The Chieftains shot 61 percent from the field (33-of-54) and even better than that, 69 percent (11-of-16) from 3-point range.
Highsmith led the charge, hitting 12 of his 20 shots for a game-high 32 points. He just missed a quadruple-double as he also grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out eight assists and had seven steals.
“Dontel had a heck of a night,” Edwardsburg coach Dan Gunn said. “Well, they all did. Their shooting was pretty incredible. Nobody is going to beat them if they play like that. To guard Dontel, it has to be a team effort. And when he drives and then kicks it out to Hunt or his brother and they drain a 3, there’s not much more you can do. And if you play a zone, then you’re really in trouble with Dontel as far as blocking out. You’re just between a rock and a hard place.”
Dowagiac poured in 25 first quarter points open up a 12-point advantage (25-13) after one, but the Eddies hung in there, trimming two points off the lead by halftime.
The Chieftains are used to playing fast, but Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt had his squad turn it up a notch against the Eddies.
“We wanted to play up-tempo tonight,” he said. “In fact, tonight we wanted to up tempo our up tempo. So we played a little faster than normal. We felt if we could get out and make them run, that because of their short bench, they would get winded. That would allow the game to get easy and become entertaining.”
That up tempo game probably tired out the Chieftains at the end of both halves, but it really didn’t matter. The Eddies didn’t have the legs to take advantage of it. They were able to whittle away at the lead, but never seriously threatened Dowagiac.
The closest Edwardsburg got after the first quarter was six points.
Highsmith got plenty of help at the offensive end Friday night as his brother Davion scored 17 points and D.J. Hunt added 14.
Edwardsburg’s Matt Griesinger had a big night with 20 points and nine rebounds. Josh Kozinski, the area’s second leading scorer behind Dontel Highsmith, was limited to just 16 points as Kyle Solloway and Joey Pasternak teamed up again to contain him.
Jackson Gaideski added 11 points for the Eddies, who are now 13-4 overall and 7-2 in the West Division.
Dontel Highsmith 12 5-12 32, Kyle Solloway 2 1-2 7, Davion Highsmith 8 0-0 17, Tyler Clark 1 1-2 4, D.J. Hunt 5 1-2 14, Joey Pasternak 4 0-0 8, Bryce Dodd 1 0-0 3. TOTALS 33 8-18 85
Patrick Harvey 3 0-0 6, Eric Richardson 0 0-0 0, Matt Griesinger 10 0-0 20, Josh Kozinski 4 4-6 16, Jason Schimpa 0 0-0 0, Jackson Gaideski 5 1-1 11, Dante Razzano 3 0-0 7, Dylan Hulett 2 0-0 5, Joe Queener 0 1-2 1, Grant Szalewski 1 0-0 3. TOTALS 28 6-9 69
Dowagiac 25 48 66 85
Edwardsburg 13 38 55 69
3-point baskets: Dowagiac 11 (Donte Highsmith 3, Hunt 3, Solloway 2, Davion Highsmith 1, Dodd 1, Clark 1), Edwardsburg 7 (Kozinski 4, Hulett 1, Szalewski 1, Razzano 1). Total fouls (fouled out): Dowagiac 14 (Solloway), Edwardsburg 18. Varsity records: Dowagiac 15-1, 8-0 West Division; Edwardsburg 13-4, 7-2 West Division