Energized by dunk, Dunbar boys grab win in tough test at Flyin’ To The Hoop

KETTERING – Antone Allen saw the defender coming fast.

“I knew he was about to jump,” Allen said. “I can get my hand above the rim pretty high, so I was pretty confident in my ability.”

And the first big, in-your-face, crowd-pleasing, backboard-shaking dunk of Day 2 of the 20th Beacon Orthopaedics Flyin’ To The Hoop happened.

“I knew we needed that dunk,” Allen said. “So I just went up and dunked it.”

The Dunbar boys basketball team had trailed most of the game Saturday, but now they were up three. And Pickerington North was doomed. The Wolverines, sparked by the dunk, won 58-53 against a Division I team that came to town with a 13-1 record.

The dunk play was started by a B.J. Hatcher steal and pass ahead to Allen.

“Honestly, that’s what took us over the hump,” Hatcher said. “That’s what made us win the game. It got our energy up.”

From there, the energized Wolverines’ trademark defense found the high gear head coach Tony Dixon wants.

“We never went away from our game plan,” Dixon said. “We knew what they liked to do, so we tried to make them uncomfortable doing that. We just grinded it out and got transition buckets in the second half.”

Dixon, who played on Dunbar’s 2006 state championship team, knew what the dunk meant to his team.

“It woke us up,” he said. “We were grinding on defense and playing from behind most of the game. That let us know, ‘Okay, let’s go ahead and win this game.’ ”

Offensively, Dunbar (11-3) won with balance. Antone Allen scored 15 points, his twin Antaune Allen scored 12, Eric Brewer scored 12 and Hatcher 11. The fifth starter, Emmanual Marshall, scored eight.

The win was extra-special for Dixon. In 2005, he played on the Dunbar team that beat Cincinnati Taft at Flyin’ To The Hoop. On Saturday, in his second try, he added a win as a coach.

“It’s humbling for any kid growing up and coming back to coach for the alma mater,” Dixon said. “It’s almost like a dream job, especially around here because Dunbar basketball has a rich history. I feel like a kid. I got to play here, win here and coach here.”

Halfway through the season is the time when teams start thinking about what certain wins can mean when it comes time for coaches to vote on tournament seedings. Beating a 13-2 Division I team is a good line on the resume for any Division II team like Dunbar.

And it was the dunk, of course, that the Wolverines will remember when they get a high seed.

“It was big, big for the team, big for our culture and helped us get a win that we need for the tournament,” Antone Allen said. “It gave us good points to beat a Division I team, so that put us in a good position for the tournament.”

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