Fenwick will meet Greater Catholic League Coed North Division rival Alter in a 7:30 p.m. district semifinal Saturday at Middletown’s Wade E. Miller Arena. The Knights beat the Falcons twice during the regular season, 64-52 on Jan. 11 and 56-38 on Feb. 15.
Alter, the No. 7 seed, hammered No. 1 Chaminade Julienne 61-35 in Wednesday’s nightcap at Trent.
“We’re really grateful to be where we are now, and we don’t really care who we play next,” Dahm said. “We just want to give it our all and show who we are as Fenwick. We’ve got to bring it.”
Fenwick has ousted Southwestern Buckeye League foes Valley View and Monroe in the first two rounds, having beaten both teams in the regular season.
Fenwick’s A.J. Braun (20) shows some determination around the basket during Wednesday night’s Division II sectional basketball game against Monroe at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. Fenwick won 60-39. ROB MCCULLEY/RAM PHOTOGRAPHY
The Falcons were very sharp offensively Wednesday — they didn’t have a turnover until the end of the third period. A.J. Braun (17 points, 10 rebounds) and C.J. Napier (11 points, six boards) were among the leaders.
“I was proud of the kids. They’ve come out the first two games and played exactly the way we needed them to play to win,” Fenwick coach Pat Kreke said. “The first two games, we’re the better team on paper, so we should come out and start the game well and continue through. What we haven’t done this year against these teams is do that.
“We have struggled all year long with teams that on paper we’re better than. We just haven’t gotten off to good starts. Tonight, we did get off to a good start offensively. I thought the kids were unselfish with the ball, so that was great. I was not happy defensively with our kids getting beat on the dribble, but we were still able to hold them to 20 points in the first half.”
Eighth-seeded Monroe (12-11) played without 6-foot-5 junior Bobby Borneman, who was sidelined for disciplinary reasons, and the Hornets just couldn’t keep up offensively.
Collin Deaton had 11 points and Caimanne Turner added eight for Monroe, which is losing three seniors: Nick Osterman, Shawn Poindexter and Tanner Perkins.
Fenwick coach Pat Kreke claps for his team during Wednesday night’s Division II sectional basketball game against Monroe at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. Fenwick won 60-39. ROB MCCULLEY/RAM PHOTOGRAPHY
“Our guys came out and played their butts off like they did all year,” Hornets coach Kenny Molz said. “We played hard all the way to the end, and the character that these guys showed is something they can take with them.
“Due to some personnel issues that came up unexpectedly in the last couple days, we had to put together a new game plan. We played a 2-3 zone that we haven’t worked on all year, and we didn’t do a bad job with it.
“The whole game plan was to let guys besides Napier make shots, and they did. The credit goes to them. When we did go back to our man in the second half, the repetition, the mind-set, how we usually are, wasn’t there. That’s usually how it is. When you play a 2-3 and then try to go man, that intensity level isn’t there. We’re used to giving up 43, 44 points a game. In all honesty, that was the one thing I wasn’t worried about coming in.”
Monroe is 38-54 in the first four years of the Molz era, though this year’s winning record is a big positive after going 14-32 over the last two seasons.
Molz doesn’t want his players to be satisfied with this season as they move forward.
Fenwick’s Jordan Rucker (12) prepares to shoot over Monroe’s Adam Ploeger (20) during Wednesday night’s Division II sectional basketball game at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. Fenwick won 60-39. ROB MCCULLEY/RAM PHOTOGRAPHY
“It doesn’t automatically mean next year’s going to be better or the same type of feeling,” he said. “The reason why this year was successful was because we put the time and effort in and sacrificed personal gains and really bought into one another. They built relationships and loved each other. That was a big step forward with our culture.
“This offseason’s going to be huge for us to be able to take a step forward because we’re losing a couple good seniors that really led the way, maybe not in scoring every night, but with the intangibles and doing things the right way.”
Fenwick has won seven of its last nine games. Dahm has averaged 6.9 points during that stretch after scoring just 27 points through the previous 15 contests.
Kreke expected Dahm to be a significant part of the offense this year, but the veteran coach didn’t see the consistency he was seeking.
“He was in the lineup at the beginning of the year and just kind of played himself out of it,” Kreke said. “He was not shooting the ball well, and that’s his strong point. When he doesn’t shoot the ball well, we struggle to keep him in the lineup. But we knew he was capable. He did it all last year as a junior on the JV level. He stroked and stroked and stroked. You can see that in games like this.”
Dahm, who has returned to the starting five in the last couple weeks, admitted there were times earlier in the year when he didn’t show enough drive to earn playing time.
Fenwick’s C.J. Napier grabs a rebound in traffic during Wednesday night’s Division II sectional basketball game against Monroe at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. Fenwick won 60-39. ROB MCCULLEY/RAM PHOTOGRAPHY
“Sometimes you don’t muster up the courage to have the most hustle all the time and your teammates do,” Dahm said. “Coach Kreke rewards hustle and heart. It’s all about staying consistent every day and giving it everything you’ve got.”
He realized he had to step up his game and followed through with that. Dahm said friendly competition among the players during practice helps the team grow.
“It makes us a better team and brings us together even more,” Dahm said. “When all of our weapons come together and work as one and not just our two big men, I think we’re a really dangerous team.”
MONROE (12-11): Will DeBord 0 3 3; Nick Osterman 2 2 6; Collin Deaton 5 1 11; Shawn Poindexter 2 0 4; Caimanne Turner 4 0 8; Jack Taylor 1 0 2; Tanner Perkins 1 0 3; Adam Ploeger 1 0 2. Totals: 16-6-39
FENWICK (16-8): Caleb Davis 1 3 6; Jared Morris 2 0 5; A.J. Braun 7 3 17; C.J. Napier 3 5 11; Travis Dahm 6 0 16; Chase Mulligan 1 0 3; Carter Earls 1 0 2. Totals: 21-11-60
3-pointers: M 1 (Perkins), F 7 (Dahm 4, Mulligan, Morris, Davis)
Fenwick's Travis Dahm (30) gets up a shot as Monroe's Will DeBord (0) trails during Wednesday night's Division II sectional basketball game at Fairmont's Trent Arena. Fenwick won 60-39. ROB MCCULLEY/RAM PHOTOGRAPHY
Credit: RAM Photo
Credit: RAM Photo