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Can’t beat that: Dunbar wins court decision and sectional final

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 12:38 PM

Dunbar senior Jo-Jo Scates addresses a 27-26 defeat of Fenwick in a D-II boys high school basketball sectional final at UD Arena on Wed., March 7, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dunbar won its second straight significant decision on Wednesday night, edging Fenwick to win a boys sectional basketball championship. The day before a win in court allowed the Wolverines back into tournament.

The offensively challenged 27-26 victory sends Dunbar (18-4) into a Division II high school basketball district final against Cincinnati Woodward (16-9) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton High School. That site was switched by the Southwest District prior to Wednesday’s game.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association disqualified Dunbar from the tournament last week, citing an ineligible player. Dayton City League rival Thurgood Marshall was put in Dunbar’s place in the D-II bracket, because that was the last team Dunbar beat in the sectional semifinals.

Dunbar, including Michael Elmore, held the ball for more than nine minutes of the second half. Dunbar defeated Fenwick 27-26 in a boys high school basketball D-II sectional final at UD Arena on Wed., March 7, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

However, Dayton Public Schools and Dunbar contested that decision. A ruling in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court overturned the OHSAA on Tuesday, allowed Dunbar back into the tourney and knocked Thurgood out. Both teams had been practicing, not knowing which would play Fenwick.

It was the second time in about 18 months the OHSAA had disqualified Dunbar from a postseason. The Wolverines also were dismissed from the 2016 football playoffs for an ineligible player.

“We’ve had a long week,” admitted a spent Dunbar coach Chuck Taylor, in his first season with the Wolverines. “Some of (the Dunbar players were) involved with the football situation. For it to happen in basketball, it was just a double whammy.”

That includes leading scorer and junior Jonathan Allen (seven points) and Jo-Jo-Scates (six points). Allen’s free throw put Dunbar up 25-22 with 1:58 left. Then it was Scates’ turn. He jumped off the court to save a loose ball and flipped it to Kadar Gardner for what stood as the winning bucket and 27-24 lead.

“(The OHSAA), they’re always picking on Dunbar,” said Scates, a talented receiver who signed with Iowa State University to play football. “It’s like a tradition, now. There’s a lot of doubt that goes on in the city against Dunbar. We take that as motivation and use it to our advantage.”

Fittingly, the game also was an oddity. Fenwick (17-7) was packed in a tight zone defense like it had mostly used to win a Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North championship. Dunbar hoped to draw the Falcons out by holding the ball.

Instead, the final four minutes of the third quarter and the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter were spent with Dunbar players standing still with the ball and Fenwick defenders watching motionless.

“I didn’t know what was going on until my coach explained it to me,” Scates said. “I said, oh, I get what we’re doing now. I was kind of confused about it myself.”

Fans from both teams erupted throughout, pleading for action.

“We had to figure out a way to bring those guys out,” said Taylor.

Fenwick’s C.J. Napier hit two free throws with 5.8 seconds left to account for the final score. However, he missed the third. But Allen also missed a following free throw for Dunbar.

That gave Fenwick one final possession, but Napier was tied up at half court and couldn’t get a shot off. John Engelmeier led Fenwick with 12 points.

“It ended up working,” Taylor said. “We’re just happy to move on.”

Cin. Deer Park 72, Stivers 63: The Tigers’ bid to shock the D-III boys tourney came tantalizing close until unraveling in the final minutes Wednesday night at UD Arena. Stivers (12-14) was a monumental underdog but led the unbeaten Wildcats throughout. Deer Park ended on a 9-2 run to derail the youthful Dayton City League member.

Deer Park (25-0) will play Cin. Purcell Marian (20-6) in a D-III regional semifinal next week. Sophomore Trevon Ellis led Stivers with 19 points. Another sophomore, Da’Juan Allen added 14 points and freshman Allen Lattimore 12. Mark Wise led Deer Park with 24 points.

Cin. Madeira 57, Versailles 51: Versailles overcame a 17-point, second-half deficit to pull even but Madeira recovered in the opening boys D-III district final at UD at Wednesday.

It was the end of a celebrated and high-scoring era for Versailles senior Justin Ahrens. His 3-pointer with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter pulled Versailles even at 48-all. Madeira answered with a game-ending 9-3 run.

A.J. Ahrens, Justin’s twin brother and also a senior, led Versailles with 15 points. Justin Ahrens, a 6-6 senior who signed with Ohio State University, added 13 points and Michael Stammen 12 for Versailles (21-5). Jack Cravaack led Madeira (18-7) with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

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Former Dayton Flyers center finds new home for basketball career

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 8:44 AM

Dayton’s Jordan Pierce shoots at practice in September at the Cronin Center. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton’s Jordan Pierce shoots at practice in September at the Cronin Center. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Former Dayton Flyers center Jordan Pierce will continue his basketball career at Odessa Community College in Odessa, Texas.

Odessa announced the addition of Pierce on Wednesday night. Dayton announced in March Pierce was leaving Dayton after one season. Four other players decided to transfer or turn pro.

Xeyrius Williams transferred to Akron. Kostas Antetokounmpo hopes to hear his name called in the NBA Draft on Thursday. Matej Svoboda returned to the Czech Republic to play pro basketball. John Crosby, who has one season of eligibility remaining, has not announced if he will continue his basketball career.

» RELATED: Former UD assistant says Flyers are on a mission

Dayton listed Pierce at 6-foot-11. Odessa called him a 7-footer in its announcement.

Pierce has three seasons of eligibility remaining. He appeared in two games and played a total of two minutes last season as a freshman.

Pierce signed with Dayton during Archie Miller’s final season and recommitted to the program after the hiring of Anthony Grant.

Odessa has played in three straight National Junior College Athletic Association tournaments. It finished 28-5 last season under coach Tra Arnold, who left to become an assistant coach at Iona. Its new coach is Kris Baumann, who was previously an assistant coach at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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Back-to-back homers lift Reds to 5th straight vs. Tigers

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 3:43 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 3:57 PM

Suarez homers off former team to lead Reds win

What at first appeared to be a premature detonation turned out to be the appropriate celebration when the umpires changed Eugenio Suarez’s double into a go-ahead home run Wednesday afternoon.

The Suarez blast, which prompted the fireworks to be set off while he was standing on second base, came one pitch after Scooter Gennett hit a game-tying, two-run homer off Detroit starter Michael Fulmer, enabling the Cincinnati Reds to post a 5-3 victory before a crowd of 19,177 at Great American Ball Park.

“I knew that was a homer,” said Suarez said, who had struck out on three consecutive fastballs in his previous at-bat. “I knew he'd come in with a breaking ball, and he hung it and I got it.”

The win was the Reds’ sixth in seven games against the American League this year and their fifth in a row against Detroit dating back to 2015, marking their longest active streak against any team.

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Fulmer (3-6) was one strike away from setting a season-high with 10 strikeouts while taking a 2-0 lead into the seventh, but Gennett crushed a 1-2 fastball into the seats in right field to tie the game with his 13th home run of the season.

Then Suarez hit the next pitch off what appeared to be the yellow padding in left field. But after a crew chief review it was determined the ball cleared the padding for Suarez’s team-leading 15th home run of the season.

The back-to-back blasts – the third of the season for the Reds – made a winner of Cincinnati starter Tyler Mahle, who allowed two runs in six innings with eight strikeouts and four walks.

›› RELATED: Reds notes on Peralta’s struggles, Hamilton’s surge, Votto’s climb

“Tyler did a great job,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “Getting six or eight innings out of your starters gives you a chance to win and use your bullpen the way you want to use them.”

Mahle (6-6) gave up solo home runs to Jeimer Candalario in the first and Niko Goodrum in the fourth before stranding a pair of runners in the fifth and, after a visit from Riggleman, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth with a strikeout of Fulmer.

“That was huge,” Mahle said of Riggleman’s decision to leave him in the game. “Sometimes we get pulled before we want to, but today when he went out there I expected to get pulled. Two outs and I walk a guy and give up a double. In a situation like that you expect to get pulled, or at least I do."

But after Riggleman ordered an intentional walk of Dixon Machado to load the bases, Mahle punched out Fulmer for season high-tying eighth strikeout.

Scott Schebler, who went 2-for-5, rode the momentum of that punchout and got the game-winning rally started with a leadoff double in the sixth. After Tucker Barnhart flew out and Joey Votto struck out, Gennett tied the game with his homer, just the fourth hit of the day for the Reds.

And Fulmer never recovered. After giving up the go-ahead homer to Suarez, he walked Jesse Winker to end his day. Fulmer went 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.

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The Reds got an insurance run in the seventh when Barnhart’s second single of the game scored Billy Hamilton.

Votto followed with a walk to load the bases with no outs. But the Reds failed to blow open the game when Gennett and Suarez each hit shallow fly outs and Alex Blandino struck out.

“We were holding out breath a little bit because we had bases loaded and didn't any any more,” Riggleman said. 

The Tigers got within 4-3 in the eighth on a pair of two-out infield singles. Jacoby Jones hit a high bouncer between Suarez at third and reliever Jared Hughes. Jones stole second and came across an unattended home plate when Machado beat out a 10-foot chopper that pulled Barnhart out of position.

Adam Duvall, who stayed in the game after pinch-hitting in the sixth, got the run back with a solo home run, his 12th homer of the season, with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

›› MORE: Votto does bird a favor with grand slam

Billy Hamilton followed with a ground-rule double for his second hit of the game, giving him three consecutive multi-hit games. That last time that happened was July 2016.

Raisel Igelsias pitched the ninth and worked around a two-out single to record his 11th save.

The Reds win was their sixth in eight games.

“The way we’re playing right now is how we expected to play all year,” Gennett said. “If our pitching can keep us in the game, it’s only a matter of time before we get a few runs across.”

The homestand continues Thursday night when they open a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

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Middletown’s Vincent Edwards among NBA draft hopefuls

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 3:33 PM

Middletown's Vincent Edwards (12) fakes out Elder's Joey Sabato (23) during Friday night's Division I sectional boys basketball game Feb. 28, 2014, at Xavier University's Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Middletown defeated Elder 54-47. NICK DAGGY / STAFF
Nick Daggy
Middletown's Vincent Edwards (12) fakes out Elder's Joey Sabato (23) during Friday night's Division I sectional boys basketball game Feb. 28, 2014, at Xavier University's Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Middletown defeated Elder 54-47. NICK DAGGY / STAFF(Nick Daggy)

Middletown native Vincent Edwards will be among the many former college basketball stars hoping to hear his name called during the NBA draft on Thursday night. 

He is projected as a second-round pick by tankathon.com and TheRinger.com

The former projects him going to the San Antonio Spurs with the 49th pick while the latter sees him going 58th overall to the Denver Nuggets

After four years at Purdue, Edwards could arrive at the next level as a ready-made rotation member, but that is not what NBA teams are generally looking for in the draft

Since there are only two rounds, upside is almost always the focus, meaning players with production such as Edwards have to wait until younger players with more perceived potential go first. 

RELATED: Who are the top 5 NBA players from the Dayton/Springfield/Middletown area?

The son of Wright State Hall of Famer Bill Edwards, he was a second-team All-Big Ten pick as a senior when he averaged 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He shot 47.6 percent from the field and made 39.8 percent of his 3-pointers. 

The younger Edwards is the only Purdue player to score 1,500 points with 700 rebounds and 300 assists in his career. 

According to Basketball-Reference.com, four men born in Middletown have played in the NBA or ABA: Bill Edwards Sr., Bill Hanzlik (Beloit Memorial High School in Wisconsin), Luke Kennard (Franklin High School) and Jerry Lucas. 

The elder Edwards played three games for the Phoenix Suns in the 1993-94 season. 

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Looking back: Negele Knight last Dayton Flyer to be drafted in 1990

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 9:39 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 9:39 AM

Dayton Flyers in NBA: Top 10 career scorers

Twenty eight years ago this month, the Phoenix Suns drafted Dayton Flyers guard Negele Knight with the fourth pick in the second round. He was the 31st overall pick.

» RELATED: Departing assistant coach says Flyers are on a mission

Knight was the 47th player in Dayton history be drafted and the 11th to go in the first or second rounds. Although four undrafted Flyers (Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Brian Roberts and Charles Cooke) have played in the NBA since Knight’s career ended in 1999, he remains the last Flyer to be drafted.

The drought could end Thursday. Kostas Antetokounmpo, who played one season with Dayton and left the program in March, is projected as a possible second-round pick.

Here’s a look back at the Dayton Daily News coverage of Knight on June 28, 1990 (story by Bucky Albers):

SUNS SHINE ON DAYTON'S KNIGHT

It came as a complete surprise to Negele Knight Wednesday night when the Phoenix Suns selected him in the second round of the National Basketball Association player draft.

"I never sat down and talked to them and I never heard from them," said Knight, who led the University of Dayton Flyers to a 22-10 record last season. "It's a surprise to me, but it's a good surprise."

Watching the draft on television in Detroit at the home of his brother, Oscar, Knight had to wait almost three hours until his name was called at 10:25 p.m.

He was the fourth player selected in the second round and the 31st overall.

"I'm doing fine . . . now that I don't have to play against K.J.," Knight said moments after he got the news.

K.J. is Kevin Johnson, the starting point guard for the Suns.

"I played against him in our Christmas tournament my freshman year," said Knight, referring to Johnson's appearance in the Merrill Lynch Classic with the California Golden Bears. "People ask me who was the best guard I've ever played against, and that's him."

Guard Negele Knight of the Phoenix Suns moves the ball during a 1993 game. Layne Murdoch /Allsport (Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
 

The Suns, who selected 6-foot-8 power forward Jason Williams of St. John's with the 21st pick in the first round, took Knight in hopes that his presence will enable Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons to give Johnson more rest than he got during the past season.

"Kevin Johnson needs some rest," Fitzsimmons said. "You can ride a good horse to death if you use him too much."

Last year, Phoenix drafted 5-7 guard Greg Grant, the NCAA Division III scoring leader from Trenton (N.J.) State College, in the second round for the same reason, but he didn't get the job done.

The Suns had to press 6-4 shooting guard Jeff Hornacek into duty as a point guard.

Fitzsimmons thinks Knight could be the answer. He was particularly impressed with the numbers the 6-1 senior posted late in the season.

During the last five weeks of the season, Knight sparked UD to an 11-game winning string with a phenomenal scoring spree. He averaged 29.7 points per game. He shot .615 (72-117) from the field, .703 (19-27) from 3-point range and .820 (50-61) from the free throw line.

"He's quick and he's a tough guy," Fitzsimmons said. "You figure the last few games of the season were the toughest, and that's when he was the toughest."

 

Phoenix apparently was debating between choosing Knight and Brian Oliver of Georgia Tech. The Suns decided that Knight had better all-around playmaking skills.

Knight was the fifth true point guard selected. Chosen ahead of him were Gary Payton of Oregon State (2nd by Seattle), Rumeal Robinson of Michigan (10th by Atlanta), Dee Brown of Jacksonville (19th by Boston) and Lance Blanks of Texas (26th by Detroit).

Four other MCC players were selected in the draft. They are: Tyrone Hill of Xavier (11th by Golden State), Anthony Bonner of St. Louis (23rd by Sacramento), Derek Strong of Xavier (47th by Philadelphia) and Tony Smith of Marquette (51st by the Los Angeles Lakers).

Knight, who flew to Portland at the Trail Blazers' request two weeks ago, thought he might be selected by Portland late in the first round, but they picked 6-10 Alaa Abdelnaby of Duke.

Sacramento, which had four first round choices, also had an interest but backed off after landing shooting guard Travis Mays of Texas with the 14th pick.

Knight was mildly disappointed that he wasn't picked in the first round, but no Flyer has been drafted in the first round since 1979 when Jim Paxson was selected by Portland.

"It's Phoenix, they need a point guard and I'm ready," Knight said. "It's a good situation, and it will take some pressure off me. Now I have some kind of focus."

The Suns called Knight's agent, Fred Slaughter, in Los Angeles to inform him of their pick.

"Fred just called me," Knight said, indicating that he got no information about the dates of rookie camp or any other details. "All that will be discussed tomorrow. I'll talk with him again tomorrow night."

Knight, 23, averaged 22.8 points for the Flyers, who won the Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament championship and played two games in the NCAA tournament.

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