|The 26 points of Adolphus Washington brought|
Taft within one win of another trip to the Final Four
Taft 76 Dayton Thurgood Marshall 67: Through three quarters the Senators played as well as they have all season, building a 52-36 lead at the the end of the third quarter. Taft had jumped out to a seven point lead at the half, behind 13 first quarter points from senior post Adolphus Washington, then extended the lead eleven at the half. When the Senators opened the third with a quick 8-0 run the game appeared like it was headed for a blowout. But the DTM Cougars would come alive in the fourth quarter. Thurgood pulled to within ten at 63-53 with 3:05 remaining on a three-pointer by junior wing Mark Alstork and eventually got to within five at 66-61 with 1:45 left on a crafty layup by sophomore guard Ra'chaun Martin. The ensuing play Adolphus Washington fouled out, after Taft senior guard Jalean Lowe had already received his fifth foul. The crowd, who was heavily favoring Thurgood in hopes of an all Dayton city league Regional Final, was on their feet but Senators senior guard Jermaine Freeman answered with a floating layup to provide the dagger points with just over a minute left. From there Taft hit enough free throws to win a close game between two of the best Division II teams in the state of Ohio. Washington was the game high scorer with 26 points for Taft while Dwayne Stanford added 13 for the Senators, Orlando Berry scored 16, and Freeman chipped in a crucial 8. The Cougars were led by the 21 points of senior guard Joe Thomasson and the 10 points of Martin. Senior forward Joe Ballard, a freak athlete who brought the crowd to their feet with a huge second-quarter alley-oop dunk, also played a good game for Thurgood by scoring 8 points.
Dayton Dunbar 52 Columbus Eastmoor 35: The Wolverines played a bit sloppy as they handily defeated Eastmoor, in a game that was not nearly as close as the margin would indicate. After leading by 13 at the half Dunbar opened up a lead that at one point late in the third reached 25 points before brining in many of their substitutes for the final period. In a balanced team offensive effort freshman point guard Amos "AJ" Harris and senior forward Gary Akbar led Dayton Dunbar with 10 points a piece. Senior forward Deontae "Teddy" Hawkins and junior forward Damarion Geter added 8 and 7 points respectively for the Wolverines.
Taft and Dayton Dunbar will now face each other in the Regional Final, with the winner advancing to the Division II State Final Four. The game will be played on Saturday at Trent Arena in Kettering at 3:00 PM