The Trotwood-Madison and Dunbar boys basketball teams were like two prize fighters poised for a regional final rematch. The buildup was intense. The interest great. The payoff would be a trip to the state final four.
And like many of these kinds of celebrated contests, it was quickly over, Trotwood landing a crushing 83-54 knockout at a capacity-filled Fairmont Trent Arena that wasn’t that close.
“We came out with a great start and just kept it going,” Trotwood senior Torrey Patton said. “Coach told us to put our foot on the ignition and don’t let them come back and that’s what we did.”
The victory launches Trotwood (26-2) into the Division II state semifinals in another rematch against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (23-5) at 2 p.m. Thursday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus. St. V, whose most famous alum is LeBron James, advanced by taking out Cleveland Central Catholic 72-48 in a regional final at Canton also on Saturday. Trotwood blitzed visiting St. V 100-61 in the regular season on Jan. 14.
It’ll be Trotwood’s third state trip. Trotwood last went to state in 2014, losing to Upper Arlington in the D-I state semifinals. Trotwood, powered by Chris Wright, also was the D-I state runner-up in 2006, losing to Canton McKinley in the championship.
It took just 90 seconds after the opening tip for Dunbar, seemingly poised to add to its final four resume, to instead unravel. That’s how long it took for Trotwood’s Amir Foster, Amari Davis and Myles Belyeu to deliver crowd-rousing transition dunks. Dunbar never recovered defensively and couldn’t find its offensive touch, either, a deadly combination in a contest of this magnitude.
In all, Trotwood would unleash eight slams in an unrelenting attack that Dunbar never did slow or solve. Dunbar’s Caleb McConnell also had a throw-down with 5:30 left in the second quarter, but drew a technical foul for taunting — his third personal — and didn’t return. Trotwood responded with a half-ending 12-2 run and the rout was on.
Trotwood led 24-6 in the first quarter and the grand rematch had turned mismatch by halftime with Trotwood flexing a 40-17 advantage. Trotwood fans begged for more while Dunbar patrons sat in gloomy disbelief.
“We talked about just attacking and we did that early,” Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold said. “That got them on their heels defensively a little bit, which created some open stuff for us. At the end of the day, those kids did it. They executed and took care of business.”
Foster led Trotwood with a game-high 22 points. Belyeu added 16 points and Davis 11. Devon Baker led Dunbar with 13 points and Storm Cook added 12.
It was a stunning meltdown by Dunbar (24-4), which pushed Trotwood before falling 98-89 in a regular-season road showdown Feb. 4. That shootout stoked the rematch hype. Both coaches positioned their teams in the sectional brackets to not meet until a regional final. That was the only thing that worked out for Dunbar.
“We just didn’t show up,” a glum Dunbar coach Pete Pullen said. “We didn’t defend and we didn’t compete. We didn’t have any answers.”