Dayton Dunbar beats Meadowdale in City League rivalry game

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Dunbar 63, Meadowdale 60
On Friday night, the two-time defending state champion Dunbar Wolverines beat Meadowdale in yet another edition of one of the Miami Valley ’s most intense rivalries, 63-60. This Dayton Public League thriller was wildly entertaining basketball of a type seldom seen so early in a season.

 


By Alex Sator

DAYTON – On Friday night, the two-time defending state champion Dunbar Wolverines beat Meadowdale in yet another edition of one of the Miami Valley ’s most intense rivalries, 63-60. This Dayton Public League thriller was wildly entertaining basketball of a type seldom seen so early in a season.

How hot was it?

It was so hot that no less than five players had to walk off leg cramps (all returned to the game). The venerable Dunbar gym was as sold out as it could possibly be and over-worked beat writers were passing out on press row.

The first clue as to how the evening was going to go was the joyously cut-throat JV game. These folks knew each other and knew each other well. This was going to be great stuff.

The main attraction was a big tent full of extended runs; a circus that was enabled, in part, by an over abundance of talent on a mere 70-foot floor. The playing surface at the University of Dayton Arena , for example, is 88 feet. So, this game happened really fast.

If you bought your ticket just to check out the freakish skills of 6-foot-10 Dunbar center and Flyer recruit Josh Benson you could have left before the first time out. In that brief period he executed two acrobatic lob-slams, brought down two rebounds (one was accompanied by a sweet outlet pass), and pinned a shot against the backboard.

Just like that it was Dunbar 9, Meadowdale 3, and the calliope was playing big time.

The Lions immediately went on a 10-4 tear of their own to tie the score at 13-13. Dunbar started to generate turnovers out of their 3-2 match up zone and they responded with a 14-2 run to take a commanding 27-15 lead. Undaunted, Meadowdale retaliated with yet another long run. This time it was 12-3 to draw within just three points at halftime, 30-27.

“We knew they were going to be scrappy,” Benson said afterwards. “We knew that we had to come in with the right mindset. I guess they wanted it more than us. In the second half we realized what was going on and picked it up.”

The first half was physical, but the third quarter was a war.

Meadowdale’s Ryan Drake scored on an offensive rebound to cut the Wolverine lead to one, but point guard Keith Winn defiantly tossed a bomb for Dunbar . Drake got three points old school in the lane, but then Keith Rakestraw, extended the state champ’s lead with a beautiful and timely stick back.

Winn was undercut on a move to the rim, started to cramp, and had to briefly leave the game. In his absence, Meadowdale applied a zone press and it yielded immediate results.

“We thought that our full court pressure was giving up too many easy baskets early,” Meadowdale head coach Felix Turner said. “So we pulled back and decided to just grind it out. The press we used late in the half was a run-and-jump match up press that was designed to put the ball in someone other than the guards hands.”

It worked well.

The next possession saw Jeremy Williams trading baskets with Rakeshaw. Then Benson pinned yet another ball against the backboard, but Williams scored anyway–and Rakestraw matched that one, too. Shawn Walton drained one of two foul shots, Williams scored from in the lane, and at 3:41 of the third quarter the score was tied 37-37.

This was more of a soap opera than a game late into the fourth quarter when the Wolverines were finally able to build up a small lead and show a little leg on their way to an intense 63-60 victory.

Benson, who had a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks), was limited largely by foul troubles. Rakestraw would lead Dunbar in scoring with 15 points (5 assists). Winn (10) and Harvey Stewart (11) would also score in double figures.

Drake led Meadowdale in scoring with 21 and contributed 5 rebounds in a noteworthy effort. Williams added 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists for the Lions.  

“It’s a hard fought rivalry,” Meadowdale head coach Felix Turner said. “These kids know each other and play together all summer. It was a hard fought win for Dunbar . My hats off to them.

“I thought that Shawn Walton (7 rebounds) did an excellent job on Benson. The plan was to keep a body on him. Shawn stayed focused and did an excellent job limiting what (Benson) did on the glass. So, credit my guys. They played hard and followed their game plan.”

The Wolverines were gracious winners.

“They (Meadowdale) are much improved now that they are in the second year of Coach Turner’s system,” Dunbar head coach Peter Pullen said. “This is his second year with those guys. They did a great job with Chaminade the other night. They are scrappy.

“We didn’t make the best decisions in the world when we were up by thirteen or fourteen. Although we knew they were going to come back. We got in a little foul trouble, and we played things close until we could get Josh back in there. We have to get ready for another team (Brookhaven) just like them tomorrow.”

MVP talked with former Dunbar athlete, Anthony Oden after the game. More than just Greg Oden’s little (6-foot-9) brother, he has options of his own on the table. Having transferred back to Lawrenceville North High School near Indianapolis , he is not playing basketball this season. Oden is a tight end in football and Oregon State, Arkansas, and Indiana are among the schools he is interested in. Stay tuned.

 

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