basketball schedule still presents challenges. The Wolverines can
breathe a sigh of relief that Meadowdale isn’t one of them any more. Meadowdale again threw a scare into Dunbar, but the Wolverines
used a fourth-quarter rally for the 47-42 win Friday at the University
of Dayton Arena.
DAYTON — At the halfway point of the season, Dayton Dunbar’s boys high school basketball schedule still presents challenges. The Wolverines can breathe a sigh of relief that Meadowdale isn’t one of them any more.
Meadowdale again threw a scare into Dunbar, but the Wolverines used a fourth-quarter rally for the 47-42 win Friday at the University of Dayton Arena. The win gave Dunbar — ranked No. 1 in the Division II state poll — a two-game lead over Meadowdale in the City League standings. The Wolverines also edged the Lions 63-60 at the beginning of the season.
“Even though they’re the state’s best we wanted to challenge them hard for the City title,” said Meadowdale coach Felix Turner. “They know how to win big games.”
Friday was another example. Meadowdale’s 36-27 lead with 4:44 left in the third quarter had Dunbar (10-1, 4-0) staring at its largest deficit of the game. The lead was 39-33 entering the fourth quarter.
“They came out scrappy and we had to be a little scrappier,” said Dunbar’s Darion Brandon, who scored nine of his 13 points in the first half. “We had to rebound, box out and be a little more physical with them like they were doing to us.”
That came in the fourth quarter. Dunbar used a combination of inside baskets and free throws to outscore Meadowdale 14-3. Josh Benson, a University of Dayton recruit, sealed the win by scoring the game’s final five points from the free-throw line.
“Throughout this season we’ve been through this situation plenty of times,” Benson said of the close games. “We put ourselves in that position where we got a good lead and slacked off. Better teams are pounding it down our throat and we have to learn from that. In the fourth quarter we knew we had to pick up our game.”
In that fourth, Meadowdale led 41-35 on Dexter Robinson’s basket with 7:17 to go. The Lions (7-5, 3-2) didn’t score their final point until about six minutes later when Ryan Drake’s free-throw tied it at 42-42. From there it was all Dunbar.
“We had several chances, they just didn’t go down,” Turner said of fourth-quarter shots, including a pair of three-point attempts in the final minute. “I thought we played well enough to win the game.”
Meadowdale held Benson to a quiet 14 points by collapsing on him inside. He also finished with nine rebounds and four blocks. Benson can expect added attention, especially with the No. 1 ranking.
“Usually the target wasn’t so big,” Benson said. “But now that they put the No. 1 up there, the target is about as big as a house right now. We have to keep our heads and play.”
Meadowdale, which trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half before pulling even at halftime, was led by Jeremy Williams’ 10 points.
“I just wish (Meadowdale) luck from this point on now that we’re through with them for (the regular season),” Dayton coach Pete Pullen said. “And I hope we can hold serve on everything else.”