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Prep girls basketball: Dunbar fights off Mohawks 50-46 in sectional

Madison High School’s bid for a piece of girls basketball history came up a little short Saturday afternoon.

The Mohawks were involved in their first-ever Division II sectional game and rallied from an 11-point deficit to take the lead against Dunbar, but Madison couldn’t hold on and got ousted 50-46 at Lebanon.

“I was wanting to win that game so bad,” said Mohawks coach Brian McGuire, whose team finished 11-12. “And I’d say it’s been about 17 years since we had a losing season. It’s still been a fun year. The girls were always playing hard. I never saw them give up.”

Lily Campbell fired in five 3-pointers and scored 20 points to pace 10th-seeded Madison. Kenzi Saunders tossed in 9 points, while Jackie Kovscek grabbed seven rebounds. Lillie Runnells and Ally King added five boards apiece.

DIVISION II SECTIONAL

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McGuire said poor first-half shooting, 17 turnovers and a 5-of-14 effort from the foul line were major factors in the defeat.

“When you lose a close game like that, every small thing counts,” McGuire said. “We missed a lot of 3s and then we made a lot of 3s. That’s who we are.”

Campbell contributed all of her 3-pointers and 17 points after halftime, despite hurting her right (shooting) wrist at some point in the second half. She had a bag of ice on it after the game.

“I think I did it in the third quarter. I don’t know if I fell on it or it got stubbed,” said Campbell, a senior guard. “I think maybe it helped. My shots weren’t falling in the first half, but they started falling in the second half.”

She buried three treys in the first half of the fourth stanza. The third one gave the Mohawks — who trailed 34-23 in the third period — a 43-42 lead with 4:47 remaining.

Asked about her second-half hot streak, Campbell said, “We wanted the lead, so if you’re open, take it. That goes for anybody.”

Dunbar, the No. 11 seed, showed some resiliency. Rickera McCluskey’s 3-pointer with 3:07 left pushed the Wolverines ahead 45-43, and they never trailed again.

Jazmon Perkins had a steal, a layup and a free throw in the last 31.3 seconds for Dunbar (14-7).

“We made some shots that we missed in the first half and took care of the ball a little bit better down the stretch,” Wolverines coach Jim Cole said. “We were average to poor at times, and that’s not to knock Madison at all. They’re a quality team.

“I had a couple kids that just didn’t play up to not only their potential, but the way we expect them to play. But with that said, we gutted it out. It’s probably been a dozen years since we won a tournament game. We’re very proud of our girls.”

Dunbar’s Monet Allen hurt the Mohawks down low with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Perkins scored 12 points, McCluskey had 11 and Aria Cole marked 10, in addition to hauling in eight boards.

The Wolverines survived 21 turnovers and a 7-of-19 performance at the charity stripe.

Dunbar’s Aria Cole (33) looks for an open teammate as Madison’s Lily Campbell (22) defends during Saturday’s Division II sectional game at Lebanon. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

“We’re definitely disappointed because we really wanted it,” Campbell said. “We thought we were going to win, but respect to them. They played hard. I don’t think we came out as strong as we should have, but we came back and made it a good game. We played as hard as we could.”

Madison totaled nine 3-pointers in the game and 154 for the season.

“Other teams see that and say, ‘We’re going to defend the 3-point line,’ ” McGuire said. “We didn’t have a very big team, so we had to play that way.”

Dunbar earned a sectional semifinal date with top-seeded Valley View at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Lebanon.

The Wolverines still must face Stivers in a makeup game to finalize the Dayton City League standings. Dunbar has clinched a share of the title at 8-1, while Ponitz is 8-2 and Stivers is 7-2.

The Mohawks, who rebounded from a 4-8 start this year, are losing three seniors: Runnells, Kovscek and Campbell.

“It was a learning year for us, and I think they’ll come back next year and be stronger,” Campbell said. “We definitely finished stronger than we started. We went through some hard times, but I loved playing with the girls. I’ll only have positive thoughts when I look back on this.”

“Those three seniors … what a great group of kids,” McGuire said. “They brought this ‘all in, all together’ thing that we have right now. They said that’s what they wanted to do, and I told them we’re continuing that stuff as long as I’m coaching.”

Dunbar 8-12-20-10—50

Madison 9-7-15-15—46

DUNBAR (14-7): Jazmon Perkins 4 3 12, Rickera McCluskey 5 0 11, Samaria Brown 2 0 4, Monet Allen 5 3 13, Aria Cole 3 1 10. Totals: 19-7-50

MADISON (11-12): Lillie Runnells 1 0 3, Lily Campbell 6 3 20, Kenzi Saunders 4 0 9, Carley McMonigle 1 2 4, Tara Price 2 0 5, Jackie Kovscek 2 0 5. Totals: 16-5-46

3-pointers: D 5 (Cole 3, McCluskey, Perkins), M 9 (Campbell 5, Runnells, Kovscek, Price, Saunders)

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