Hathaway Brown wins second state title; beats Alter in grudge match

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Hathaway Brown celebrats its second straight D-II state title on Saturday. (Photo by Gary Housteau)

The possibility of losing three straight state championships is long
gone.
Now the question is can Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown win three
in a row? Saturday in the Division II state final, HB not only won its grudge
match with Kettering Alter, the Blazers also captured their second
straight state title.


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The possibility of losing three straight state championships is long gone. Now the question is can Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown win three in a row?

Saturday in the Division II state final, HB not only won its grudge match with Kettering Alter, the Blazers also captured their second straight state title 48-35 before a crowd of 3,686 at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.

In 2008 the Knights beat the Blazers for the D-II title. Last year the Blazers returned the favor in the semifinals. This year HB edged ahead in the budding rivalry.

“It’s still sinking in,” HB head coach Paul Barlow said. “I think we had two teams that knew each other really well. We either scouted each other really well or we were in each other’s huddle. There wasn’t a lot of mystery as to what was going on out there.”

Said Alter co-head coach Kendal Peck: “We have a saying in our program that there’s a difference between getting beat and losing. Getting beat is OK, and today we got beat. They were the better team. We probably felt today the frustration people feel when they play us.”

The championship game performance was a proper send-off for a Hathaway Brown senior class – including Mylan Woods (Northwestern) and Alexis Dobbs (American) – that played in four state championships and had a record of 6-2 in eight state tournament games. Over the past four years, Woods and Dobbs helped HB rack up a 27-2 postseason record.

No group has grown or performed more on the state tournament stage in the last four years than HB and heading into last year’s final the possibility of becoming the first school in history to lose three straight state finals was very real. Now it seems just as distant.

“It went by really fast,” Woods said. “Being able to come into a program and turn it around with Alexis has been great. We’ve been playing with each other since the fourth grade. I’m going to miss it. I think we had a nice little run and we put the school on the map.”

Added Dobbs: “Freshman and sophomore year you come in for the experience and you’ve got nothing to lose. As a junior and senior you come here and it’s more like you’re expected to be here and perform. It’s great to see how we’ve shown up as a team here four years in a row and now we’ve pulled it off two years in a row.”

Alter, the other staple of the D-II tournament the last three years, also closed the curtain on the standout careers of seniors Ashley Christie and Ali Mygrants. Key contributors since their freshman seasons, Christie and Mygrants led Alter to a 3-2 record in state games the last three years and an overall postseason record of 24-3 the last four years.

Their legacy – like those of HB’s standout duo – is cemented.

“I thought our kids played their tails off today,” Alter co-head coach Chris Hart said. “We played against a very talented and deep team. We needed to get a couple shots to fall and a couple breaks here and there to change things. A few times we had them on their heels.”

Like last year’s semifinal between the two, HB never trailed. Alter fell behind 11-5 after the first period and was down 19-15 at halftime. In the third quarter the Knights used a 7-0 run to get within 28-27, but a basket by Woods to end the stanza put the Blazers in front 30-27 after three. Alter never got any closer.

Woods led all scorers with 16 points, while Alanna Guy chipped in 10. Dobbs contributed five points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Woods also supplied seven boards, four assists and three steals.

As a team, HB committed 19 turnovers and made 19 field goals – but it was more than enough. Defensively the Blazers forced 18 Alter turnovers. The Knights shot 13-of-34 from the floor.

Whitney Dabbelt led Alter with eight points, while Christie and her junior sister Courtney each had six.

Over the past four years, HB and Alter have a combined record of 182-32. The pair also owns seven state tournament berths, six finals and three championships.

Wow is right.

“You couldn’t ask for more from a high school career,” Woods said. “To be able to come here four straight times is a blessing. Alexis and I don’t know anything else. Yeah the first two years it was rough, but the third year we finally got over the hump.

“To be able to say we made state four straight years, played for a championship four straight years and won two state titles is a great accomplishment many people will never be able to say.”

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