By Lannis Timmons
Woodward became District Champions as they defeated Dayton Dunbar by 68 to 60 before a packed house at the Hamilton High School Fieldhouse.
Woodward came out the gate swinging, as they had five players score in the first quarter led by Demontez Cooper, who scored seven points, while Division Two Player of The Year Terry Durham and sophomore Dre Lewis each added five points for the Bulldogs.
Dunbar didn’t have an answer for Durham around the basket, as he was doing what he does, drop stepping, and getting on the glass for missed shots and putting them back in, and drawing fouls on the Dunbar post players.
Cooper did a good job putting pressure on Dunbar’s defense when he kept getting in the paint. Lewis, who scored all five of his points in the quarter, knocked down a three-point goal, and got on the glass to get a stick-back layup to help Woodward finish the quarter ahead by eleven at 23 to 12.
Dayton Dunbar started to come alive as the second period began, when Dylan Craver put up seven points for the Wolverines and Tavion Thomas came off the bench to score four points and got the glass to help Dunbar win the quarter, 12-9. But the Bulldogs Terry Durham helped Woodward keep the lead, as he was able to score seven of Woodward’s nine points as they led at the half by 32 to 24.
The Bulldogs guards, Hakeem Thomas and Demontez Cooper controlled the tempo, as they got in the paint on a regular basis, with Thomas scoring on floaters and dropping dimes to Durham, who had eight points and six rebounds in the period. Cooper and Thomas did a good job of pressuring the Wolverines guards, creating problems for them getting into their offensive sets. They weren’t running any half-court offense; they were just shooting it when they were open. Dunbar only scored eight points in the quarter, while Woodward stretched their lead to 17 points 49 to 32 to end the period.
Anybody who has been following high school basketball in the state for the past 20 years, knows that Dayton Dunbar is not going to just play the quarter because they have one more quarter to play. This time it was the Wolverines who came out swinging, as they had five players score in the period, with Kadar Gardner connecting on three three-point field goals, Dylan Craver and Michael Elmore added four more points for Dunbar.
The Wolverines started to use their full-court press late in the period, which caused the Bulldogs to turn it over several times, and, turning them into baskets as they cut the lead down to six points. But, again it was the Bulldogs guards Cooper and Thomas who stepped up, as they made some big free throws, with Cooper connecting on seven free throws in the quarter, while Thomas made four.
Cooper finished with 17 points was 12 for 15 from the free throw line, and Thomas also scored in double figures with13 points and was 6 for 6 from the charity line.
Again, it was the man in the middle, Terry Durham, who had a game high of 26 points and 18 rebounds, who led the Bulldogs to the 68 to 60 victory. Dunbar fought hard as they placed three players in double figures, led by Kadar Gardner who finished with 15 points, Johnnie Allen 14 points, and Dylan Craver had 11 points that helped the Wolverines win the quarter, 28 to 19. This was a great win for the Bulldogs, as they advance to the regional semi-finals to play the Hughes Big Red, the team they spilt with this year in two close games.
The game was played Thursday March 15 in Kettering Ohio at the Trent Arena.