Dale boys ousted from semifinals by Howe
The Dale Pirates' bid for the Class 2A gold ball was denied in Friday night semifinal play by the hot-shooting Howe Lions, 57-47.
“We tried to make a comeback, but we just were in too big of a hole,” said Dale head coach Jeff Edmondson. “I am so proud of all of them.”
The Lions came out of the gate roaring and built a 12-4 lead after the first quarter. Howe hit two 3-pointers in the frame, but more importantly held the Pirates to just two field goals in eight minutes of action.
Dale’s offense started to get on track in the second quarter, answering with a dozen points in the quarter, but the Howe offense was equally impressive, taking a 26-16 lead into the half. No one was hotter than Eduardo Sanchez, who scored seven of his 11 first-half points in the second quarter. Freshman Deken Jones led Dale in the first half with five points.
The third quarter was much more of the same as Howe swelled the lead to as many as 19 points on a Ky Lynn 3-pointer at the 3:50 mark of the third quarter. The Lions were up 37-18 at that point, but the game was far from over.
The Pirates turned up the heat on Howe and the youngster Jones was smack dab in the middle of it. Jones sparked a 9-2 run in the final two minutes of the third quarter, shaving the lead down to 39-29 with 0:38 left. Jones scored a trey, a 2-pointer and an old fashioned 3-point play to get the Pirates back into it.
Carter Crowe added a trey in the Dale run. The Pirates looked for more as they stole the ball from Howe, but on the ensuing drive down the court, Sanchez picked off the Dale pass and drove the length of the court, hitting a layup as the third quarter buzzer sounded, dashing the Dale rally and taking a 41-29 lead into the fourth.
Dale continued the uphill climb in the fourth quarter and cut the lead down to four points, 45-41, on a Dayton Forsythe driving layup with 3:51 left in the game. Forsythe was a force in the fourth, scoring seven points in the final quarter.
Dale didn't get any closer than four points down they stretch as Howe hit just enough free throws to keep a two-possession advantage.
“It’s a tough day,” said Edmonson. “This is a great group of seniors and I am sad that I don’t get to coach them anymore.”
Sanchez led all scorers with 21 points for Howe. Brayden Oglesby scored 15 and Jensin Coggins netted a dozen for the Lions.
Deken Jones led Dale with 17 points while Dayton Forsythe scored 12. Crowe finished with seven for the Pirates, who ended the season with a 21-5 record.