It took an ugly half, a resurgent second half and two overtimes, but the Dexter boys’ basketball team opened the 2016-17 season in the win column with an exciting – albeit not always pretty – 79-74 victory over visiting Brighton on Thursday night.
The “albeit not always pretty” comment has more to do with the combined 65 fouls called in the game than poor play. Dexter won that battle, too, 34-31.
The Dreadnaughts trailed 11-10 after the first quarter but were dominated in the second quarter, falling behind 34-18 at halftime. Dexter reversed course in the third quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 19-7 and limiting the visitors to only one field goal the entire quarter.
It was game on from then on.
Dexter opened the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run to take a 46-43 lead before Brighton responded with a 6-0 run to retake the lead 49-46. The Bulldogs went up three before junior Drew Bishop knocked down a triple with 1 minute left to play to tie it at 51-51. Both teams had a chance to win it in the final minute but came up short.
Dexter took control in the first overtime, taking a 55-51 lead on a basket by senior Tony Seidl off a nice pass from junior Brady Rosen with 1:28 to play. Seidl nailed two free throws to make it 57-54 with 44.8 seconds left in the game.
After Brighton scored inside, Bishop delivered two free throws at the other end to make it 59-56 with 18.8 seconds to play in the game. But with 8 seconds on the clock, Brighton’s Alex House hit a three from the top of the key to push the game to a second overtime.
Again, Dexter dominated from the start. This time, they extended the lead and held on for the win.
Two free throws by senior Ben Daugherty gave Dexter a 65-62 lead with 2 minutes to play. Then, the game got crazy.
After the Bulldogs cut the lead to 65-64, House was fouled shooting a triple. But the senior guard missed all three free throws. In frustration, he chased down the final miss and knocked over Bishop and was called for a technical foul.
Bishop made one of his free throws and Seidl hit the two technical free throws to give Dexter the ball and a 68-64 lead with 1:32 to play. Bishop and Dawson Omer then each made two free throws to give the hosts a 72-64 lead with 1:17 on the clock.
Brighton came right back and knocked down a triple but the Dreads put the game away at the free-throw line, making 16 of 20 attempts in the final overtime as they scored 20 points in the final 4 minutes.
Dexter Coach Tim Cain said the Dreadnaughts didn’t panic at halftime after an “awful” second quarter. They have too much experience and too much senior leadership to let one half throw them off course.
“We talked about execution,” Cain said. “We wanted to do what we do best. We want to attack the gaps, pull the defense, make the extra pass and take the good shot. We did that in the second half. It’s going to be a process. But that third quarter is who we can be and who we need to be in order to be competitive against good teams.”
Cain called the victory a “total team effort.”
“Everyone contributed tonight,” he said. “We have six or seven guys who are capable of scoring in double digits and we saw that tonight.”
The Dreadnaughts had six players score eight or more points led by Seidl with 16 points, Rosen with 15, Daugherty with 14 and Bishop with 13 points to go with eight assists. Randy Gesell scored nine and Omer had eight.
Rosen (11) and Daugherty (9) combined for 20 rebounds.
The Dreadnaughts have a tough week ahead. They travel to Adrian on Tuesday to face the Maples and then host conference powerhouse Ypsilanti on Friday.