BCT: Second-half adjustments lead third-seeded Dexter boys basketball into tournament semifinals

BLOOMFIELD — The third-seeded Dexter Bearcats made some second-half adjustments on defense to advance to the semifinal round of the 63rd Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.

The Bearcats pulled away after halftime for a 54-39 win over the sixth-seeded Doniphan boys basketball team in the quarterfinal round Friday at Bloomfield High School.

The Bearcats (4-4) will meet second-seeded Bernie in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Bernie defeated Van Buren 71-45 earlier Friday.

Top-seeded Kennett will meet fifth-seeded Hayti in the other semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday. Kennett beat East Prairie 79-41 and Hayti upset fourth-seeded Portageville 62-53 in the quarterfinals.

“Doniphan came out and really played hard,” Dexter coach Chad Allen said. “We knew coming in that they’re a good team. They’ve got a great inside player in Orie Owen and some great shooters. We really tried to work on that this morning in our shootaround.

“I thought we did a good job for the most part, especially on Orie Owen inside. (Ethan Jones) got loose on us a little bit, so we had to make some adjustments. I thought we did pretty good once we made those adjustments.”

Owen, a 6-foot-6 junior, scored eight of his 10 points before halftime and Jones scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in a tightly played first half.

The Dons (5-7) shot only 28 percent (5 for 18) from the field in the second half.

“Offensively, we just couldn’t score the basketball,” Doniphan coach Daniel Cagle said. “The second half, we went cold. We couldn’t hit any shots. It happens.”

Doniphan, who trailed 28-23 at halftime, cut its deficit to three on a driving layup by Tristain Bryant to open the third quarter, but Cole Nichols came up with a steal and passed to Andrew Ellinghouse who drew contact and made his shot and a free throw for a 31-25 lead.

“I thought the difference in the game was they got to the free-throw line a ton and we didn’t get to the free-throw line,” Cagle said. “We’ve got to get to the free-throw line more.”

The Bearcats outshot Doniphan 13-4 from the foul stripe but only outscored them 7-4. They produced three 3-point plays — two by Ellinghouse and one by Ryder Boles.

The Dons never came closer than four points the rest of the way.

Dexter scored nine of the quarter’s final 11 points to take a 40-29 lead into the fourth.

The Bearcats finished off Doniphan in the fourth with an 11-0 run sparked by a jumper and a 3-pointer Logan Wyman and an assist and a pull-up jumper by Nichols.

Nichols’ basket gave Dexter an insurmountable 52-31 lead.

“This game was just a grind,” Allen said. “I’m proud of my boys for how hard they played, just to be able to keep pushing and wearing them down. It seemed like we wore them down there in the second half.”

Cagle didn’t agree that his team wore down late.

“I thought my guys competed hard the whole game,” Cagle said. “I thought both teams were competing hard. I like the way my guys played. Defensively, I thought we really got after it.”

Ellinghouse finished with a game-high 16 points, and Boles had 12.

Garrett Henson, a 6-6 post, had a solid outing, despite scoring only seven points.

“It’s going to be a pretty physical game, especially as the tournament goes on,” Allen said. “It’s going to get more and more physical. A lot of it is strong contact or the post play gets pretty physical. I thought Garrett Henson did a really good job handling all the banging around at the rim.”

Doniphan and the Bearcats exchanged 5-0 runs to open the game.

Doniphan’s Owen scored on a putback and Jones made one of three first-half 3-pointers.

Henson scored on an assist from Carter Dorton and Ellinghouse sank a 3 to tie the score at 5.

The teams exchanged the lead three times in the first quarter and the score was tied twice. Levi Rawlings’ fast-break basket following a Dexter turnover tied the score at 12 at the end of the quarter.

The Bearcats’ Boles put together a 7-0 run in the second quarter behind a fast-break offense. Boles made a 3 to break a 14-all tie and scored back-to-back layups, the second on one of six Doniphan turnovers in the second.

The Dons scored the next seven points to tie the score at 21 on a driving layup by Bryant with 3:07 to play.

Ellinghouse and Jones traded baskets before the Bearcats scored the final five points for a 28-23 halftime lead. Ellinghouse drove hard to the basket, drew a foul and made the shot and a free throw. Nichols scored on another Doniphan turnover for a five-point halftime lead.

Doniphan121168— 39
Dexter1216121454

DONIPHAN — Bryant 2(1) 2-2 9. Moore 0. Jones 2(3) 0-0 13. Owen 4(0) 2-2 10. Czerwonka 0. Lowery 0(1) 0-0 3, Rawlings 2(0) 0-0 4. Totals 10(5) 4-4 39.

DEXTER — Ellinghouse 4(1) 5-8 16. Dorton 1(0) 0-0 2. Nichols 0(1) 0-0 3. Driskill 1(0) 0-0 2. Henson 3(0) 1-3 7. Boles 4(1) 1-1 12. Wyman 1(1) 0-0 5. Sitze 0(1) 0-0 3. Allen 0(1) 0-0 3. Totals 16(5) 7-13 54.

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