Sixteenth seeded Dixie faced off against the number one seed Chaminade-Julienne in tournament play at the University of Dayton Arena. To get there, Dixie upset a number ten seeded Dayton Christian 70-65 in their opening round game. While Chaminade-Julienne had two lopsided victories to their credit, beating NorthEastern 77-21, and Greenview 63-28. So the battle tested Greater Catholic League Eagles had some major momentum coming into the game.
But any hopes that the Eagles may have had of making easy work of the Grey Hounds were quickly thrown aside. They opened with a 1-3-1 zone which Dixie was able to figure out and get points against. Dixie started with a man to man defense and went to the press later in the quarter. They were down by 7 at the end of the opening quarter 19-12.
Back on the court Dixie went on a little run and closed the gap. This caused the Eagles to call a time out to sort things out. The Eagles were in a man to man zone, and Dixie countered with an offense where they slashed to the basket for layups from the perimeter. The Eagles had been hot in the first quarter and now they had cooled. Meanwhile Dixie pulled ahead and led briefly at the midpoint of the quarter. The Eagles were able to regain the lead and got some points off of turnovers – sinking a couple of shots to close the half with a 31-23 lead.
The chess match between the two coaches continued into the second half as Dixie came out in a 1-3-1 defense. Slowly Dixie clawed back and closed the deficit, pulling to within 3 points. But the hard scrabble defense that the Hounds were playing came at a cost as two of their starters began to get into foul trouble. It was a 3 point game with a little over 6 minutes left in the contest. But in the stretch run, the Eagles were able to pull ahead and when post player Seth Benner, who had been a defense force in the paint, fouled out with a minute and and a half left, the Hounds had no one to counter the Eagles height and they pulled away for a 70-57 win.
But it was a lot closer game than that final score would indicate. Joe Staley said afterwards,”When I saw them before tonight, they were getting good looks from their motion offense, I knew that they could give us trouble. It’s not always easy to beat the teams that you are supposed to beat, they gave us their best game.”
Coach Williams had this to say, “I am proud of the way this team played in this tournament. We played some of our best basketball at the end of the season. The five seniors really contributed this season – we will miss them. They have had 3 coaches in 3 years and have had some adjustments to make. But the team showed that they can play the type of basketball that we are trying to teach them to play. This past summer it was tough to get everybody together because of the way that things worked out. But I am looking forward to working hard with this team this off season. “
Scoring for Dixie: Fisher 4, Pietrzek 2, Moore 16, Benner 14, Watts 10, Grubb 2, Mintz 6, Leonard 3.