Window Rock's Dale leads the Scouts to first-round win against Show Low
By Quentin Jodie
CHINLE, Ariz., February 7, 2013
T he Window Rock boys basketball team did not get too many looks inside, but when they did they capitalized.
The top-seeded Scouts scored 12 baskets inside the paint against a tall Show Low team to pick up a 63-57 win in the first round action of the Arizona Division III Section I boys basketball tournament on Wednesday night in Chinle.
Window Rock senior Dominique Dale nailed five of those shots in the second half and finished with a team-high 16 points.
"I felt like I had to step up," Dale said. "I've been in a slump for awhile and my teammates knew it. My coaches told me to keep driving it to the basket and eventually my shots started to fall."
Despite the size disparity, Dale attacked the heart of Show Low's defense and scored four straight points that earned the designated home team a 46-35 cushion with 2:42 to go in the third quarter.
"Dom plays a lot bigger than his size," Window Rock coach Brad Thorstead said. "It's because of his hard work ethic and heart. Dom is the guy that always will attack the basket and he's the guy that will always rebound for us."
With two minutes to play, Show Low cut that lead down to 46-40 on an old-fashion three-point play from Jackson Jessop, but Window Rock ended the quarter on a 5-0 run, which was capped by a lay-up from Darren Ashley for a 51-40 lead.
Midway through the quarter, the Cougars chipped away at that 11-point and pulled within 54-52 on two free throws from Eric Fieson with 4:46 to go.
Show Low sophomore guard Sean Potter hit two big treys in that rally and finished with a game-best 24 points.
"Sean played very well tonight, but he hurt us a little bit by getting in foul trouble in the first half," Show Low coach Troy Cooke said.
Potter, who made four treys, sat on the bench for most of the second quarter and despite that, the Cougars managed to hang with Window Rock.
"That could have been a time that we could have made a run and took control of the game," Cooke said of Potter's absence. "But overall I am please with our efforts. We shot the ball real well."
The Show Low team had a couple of opportunities late in the game to take the lead, but the dagger was when Dale converted a three-point play with 56 seconds left.
With Window Rock inbounding the ball near midcourt, the Cougars had a breakdown on defense, which led to breakaway lay-up from Dale and after he converted the extra point. The Scouts took a 61-55 lead.
"We're a young team and you know we made a couple of mistakes down the stretch," Cooke said. "I felt that if we didn't make some of those few mistakes we could have won this game."
Aside from Show Low's brief run late in the game, Thorstead felt that his team maintained their composure when the game got tight.
"Show Low is a great team, they did a great job tonight," the first-year coach said. "I can't give them enough credit, but we're battled tested. We're prepared for these big games. We had several big games and we've managed to come through and luck has nothing to do with itÉwe've always say that the better team wins, not the better individuals."
That aspect was pretty evident as the Scouts shared the ball and finished the game with nine assists with five coming from Ashley
All in all the Scouts had seven players score with Dale leading the way while freshman Colton Lowley added 15, with 13 coming in the first quarter.
"He's our spark plug," Thorstead said Lowley. "He's a great player. He gives us a big boost any time he's in the game. He did an excellent job tonight."
Afterward, Lowley downplayed his point production saying he's there to support the team any way he can.
"I come off the bench not to score," he said. "I just try to do the little things."