Trotwood-Madison coach Rocky Rockhold had been impressed with his team’s will to win. But that mojo would be pressed to the limit at Dunbar on Tuesday night.
“It’s real hard to win here,” said Rockhold following a season signature 81-72 Rams victory. “No matter how they’re playing, it’s still Dunbar and this is still their house. Our kids had some resolve to them. We’ve faced some tough situations this season. I thought we held our composure really well, even when things weren’t going well.”
It was an intriguing non-league and sold-out matchup between two of the best boys programs in the area. It doesn’t quite carry the zeal that once put 9,000 in seats at UD Arena for a Sunday special, but this was still must-see hoop for many in these two communities.
Both teams are similarly built, lacking a big-man height advantage but making up for it with relentless hustle and skillful ball-handling. That’s how Trotwood has reestablished itself after advancing to the D-I state semifinals just two seasons ago.
The Rams have lost only Decatur Central and pushed their win streak to four.
Trotwood (11-1) took Dunbar (7-5) out of its game almost immediately doing, well, what Dunbar usually does to opponents. The Wolverines were playing catchup – and facing a double-digit deficit – mostly.
Trotwood’s lead was cut to 75-71 with one minute left after Dunbar’s Terrance Landers converted a steal and layup, but seconds later he donged a throw-down that would have kept Dunbar within four.
Freshman Amari Davis led a balanced Trotwood attack with 22 points. Myles Belue added 18 points for the Rams, Amir foster 15 and Torry Patton 13.
Landers led Dunbar with 20 points and Caleb McConnell was good for 19. Storm Cook added 14 points for the Wolverines and Chris Jackson 10.
Instead, Trotwood hit a flurry of free throws to protect its advantage.
Dunbar’s 4-0 start was wrecked by a 1-4 stretch of crushing defeats to high-end opponents, but also included a last-second setback to rival and depleted Thurgood Marshall.
Loaded with a mostly youthful lineup, Dunbar still can’t be counted out come the D-II postseason.
Dunbar whacked Trotwood 89-53 last season.
Xenia 91, Fairmont 74: The host Buccaneers (8-3) sent the Firebirds (3-10) to their fourth straight defeat. Xenia was led by junior Ray James’ career-high 31 points. Rocky James and Samari Curtis each added 18 points for the Bucs. Conor Van Oss poured in a career-best 30 points for Fairmont.
Fenwick 57, Madeira 45: Paul Blodgett drained five 3-pointers and scored 17 points as the host Falcons (5-4) scored a season high.
Beavercreek 60, Vandalia-Butler 49: Jackson Back led the host Beavers (2-10) with 16 points. Zach Ledbetter led all scorers with 19 points, all in the second half for the Aviators (2-8).
Northmont 69, Ponitz 65: Jason Biggs scored 17 points and Rodney Richardson added 13 to lead the visiting T-Bolts (7-5). Floyd Scott had 25 points for Ponitz (3-6).
Stebbins 55, West Carrollton 53: Stebbins sophomore Chris Davis buried the game-winner with 1.9 seconds remaining to help the visiting Indians (4-7) snap their four-game losing skid.
Franklin 66, Oakwood 56: Will Kercher had a game-high 23 points, including six of Franklin’s 12 three-pointers.