Anyone game for Alter vs. Dunbar?
An unlikely Division II area boys high school basketball postseason turned surreal on Thursday when Alter and Dunbar posted regional semifinal wins at Trent Arena. That pits the storied programs against each other in Saturday’s 3 p.m. final also at Trent. At stake is a trip to the final four.
“This is what we’re playing for,” Dunbar coach Pete Pullen said, “a game like this at a time like this at a place like this.”
Alter (20-5) advanced by crushing Columbus Marion-Franklin in the opener, 65-40. Dunbar (21-6) lit a defensive fuse in the second half, overcoming a seven-point halftime deficit to take out Cincinnati Hughes 69-60 in the nightcap.
It’s the fourth straight playoff win for Alter, including a sectional KO of No. 1 Thurgood Marshall. The Knights’ inspired play coincides with longtime coach Joe Petrocelli’s decision to retire following this season.
Jaaron Simmons put 28 points on Marion in another awesome outing that was full of transition breakaways and pull-up daggers.
“I just want to be a leader,” he said. “It’s not just me. … That’s why we’re having a good year.”
Sophomore 6-foot-3 front-liner Dean Lemon, the son of former Central State University head football coach Theo Lemon, added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Conceded Petrocelli: “This is overtime. I’m happy with what I’m doing and happy with the decision.”
William Green hit 11 fourth-quarter free throws and tallied 28 points to lead Dunbar, the defending D-II state champ. But it was 6-8 Damarion Geter who rocked a capacity crowd with three dunks, 17 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. He had two points at the half.
“I knew if we wanted to win, I had to be effective in the second half,” said Geter.
AJ Harris added 14 points. Hughes’ Angel Rivera, who scored 30 and put a triple-double on Trotwood-Madison in a district final, was limited to 14.
The last time Dunbar and Alter played in a regional final was in 2007, another Wolverines state title season.
“I know Coach Petro is going to have his group ready,” Pullen said. “Hopefully, we can get ready and step up to the challenge.”