For Dexter coach Mike Bavineau, Friday’s District title was personal. And it was personal because it was family – and it doesn’t get more personal than that.
Bavineau, the longtime and successful girls’ basketball coach, has won District titles before. But this one included his daughter Ryleigh, a senior, and several of her classmates and lifelong friends.
“I’ve coached some of these seniors since they were in second and third grade,” said Bavineau after Friday’s 27-23 win over Pioneer in the District championship game at Pioneer HS. “They grew up with my daughter and we have videos of them when they were really small learning how to play the game. And to see them celebrating a District title and to earn a chance to play again … there is nothing sweeter.”
The Dreadnaughts swept Ann Arbor in this District – knocking out Huron, Skyline and Pioneer from the postseason.
It started on Monday with an upset of the River Rats, who came into the postseason with an impressive 18-1 record. But regular-season records mean nothing when the ball is tossed in the air for the postseason and Dexter proved that by handing Huron its second and final loss of the season.
On Wednesday, Dexter had a slow first half, even trailing Skyline at intermission. But the offense took off in the second half as the Dreads soared past the Eagles in the semifinals.
As always with Bavineau-coached teams, it all starts on defense. And defense was the theme at both ends of the floor on Friday as neither team was able to reach double figures in any quarter.
For the Dreadnaughts, it took a while to get there, but they’ve arrived at the right time of the year.
“Offensively, we struggle to create good scoring chances and to get easy baskets,” said Bavineau, who also is the athletic director at DHS. “So our defense becomes that much more important for us. All season we have been striving to get better at it, trying different things and we’ve been able to figure out a plan. We’ve held some teams down late in the season.”
Dexter seniors played huge roles in the District title. In Friday’s final, senior Nicole Tuzinoski put the game out of reach with two free throws with 54.7 seconds left on the clock. Tuzinoski and Sammi Corcoran each scored six in the win. And they all grabbed rebounds and contributed on the defensive end.
“Of all the teams I’ve had if you asked me at the start if we were going to win Districts I would have said we might have a shot,” Bavineau said. “They have absolutely blown me away.”
Dexter plays at 5 p.m. on Tuesday against Hartland at Walled Lake Western HS.