An errant elbow? Some trash talk? An isolation challenge? Just another Friday night for Alter’s Jaaron Simmons.
“It’s been like that all season,” said the go-to senior guard. “I’m getting kind of used to it.”
It’s still too early to tag Alter a team of destiny, but the Knights are getting more comfy with that, too. The Knights delayed veteran coach Joe Petrocelli’s retirement yet again, beating Wilmington 66-56 in one of three Division II boys high school basketball district finals at UD Arena on Friday.
Joining Alter in next week’s D-II regional semifinals at Fairmont’s Trent Arena is Dunbar, which derailed Shawnee 67-54 in the nightcap. Hughes eliminated Trotwood-Madison in an opening 96-86 shootout.
Alter will play Marion-Franklin at 5:30 p.m. in Thursday’s regional semi opener. Dunbar gets Hughes in the 8 p.m. nightcap.
Alter once again wisely deferred to Simmons. He hit 13 of 17 shots and tallied a game-high 33 points. In Alter’s previous shocker of No. 1-ranked Thurgood Marshall, he rang up 29 points.
“You gotta give him credit, he’s carrying these guys on his shoulders and we’ve got good, other players,” said Petrocelli.
Dunbar overcame a strong Shawnee start with a balanced attack, led by William Green’s 21 points and Damarion Geter’s 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Wolverines (20-6) were in control by halftime and never allowed Shawnee back into contention. But there was no stopping senior Jaelin Williams. He hit 8 of 11 shots for a game-high 25 points and had nine rebounds.
The only thing that was ailing Trotwood was a defensive meltdown that led to a superb high game of 30 points by the smallest player on the court, Big Red 5-8 senior guard Angel Rivera.
The Rams (22-4) cruised through their Springfield sectional, but the postseason stakes were ramped up against Cincinnati Metro Conference member Hughes. Trotwood quickly fell behind by double digits. Just as soon, high-scoring Jamar Hammonds was out with foul trouble.
Hammonds was gone for good early in the fourth quarter, having scored four points. Dazhontae Bennett, Trotwood’s other 22-point scorer, was held to 13.
Without those two going off offensively, combined with a phantom defense, the Rams had no chance. Allowing an average of 60.3 points, it was the most points Trotwood allowed this season.
“Defensively, we were less than stellar,” conceded second-year Rams coach Rocky Rockhold. “(Offensively), our two best players didn’t show up. … That’s a long night.”
Ravonn Lovett led Trotwood with 23 points. Chris Mack added 19 and Andre Foster 17. Rivera, a second-year move-in from Puerto Rico, nailed a trio of threes and buried 19 of 22 free throws.