Fueled by a decisive 22-5 third quarter run, host Whitefish Bay Dominican pulled away for an 82-62 victory over Young Coggs Prep in a WIAA Division 4 regional final Saturday night.
Dominican (20-4) led 40-34 midway through the third quarter when they turned up the intensity on both ends of the floor and assumed control of the game. Senior guard Duane Wilson found his scoring touch during the run, converting on several drives and putbacks while also finding sophomore Diamond Stone for easy interior baskets as the Knights pulled away. Wilson finished with 27 points for Dominican, including 21 in the second half, while Stone added 20.
'We weren't making great decisions early in the game,' Whitefish Bay Dominican head coach Derek Berger said. 'Once we started making the easy pass and stopped throwing the ball away, things opened up for us offensively.'
Meanwhile, Coggs Prep (14-10) did not score over the final 3:30 of the quarter, which came to a close with Dominican leading 62-39.
'We really focused in on our defense in the third quarter,' said Berger. 'We were able to pick up our intensity on the defensive end and finish possessions.'
The defending state D4 champion Knights have now won seven games in a row, all by double-digits, since their loss to unbeaten defending state D1 champion Germantown on Jan. 26. Dominican faces Kenosha St. Joseph (17-6) in a sectional semifinal at Milwaukee South at 6 p.m. Thursday.
If advancing, the second-ranked Knights would head to Brookfield Central at 1 p.m. Saturday for a D4 sectional final, likely against third-ranked and unbeaten Laconia for the right to head back to state and defend their WIAA championship.
The Knights won the regional title by opening the Young Coggs contest on an 11-2 run, highlighted by a thunderous alley-oop dunk from Stone on the game's first possession, and looked poised to put the game away early. But the visiting Eagles, behind their opportunistic defense and the play of senior guard D'Landric Winzer, refused to go quietly.
Winzer finished with a game-high 35 points, including several acrobatic floaters in the lane, and the active Eagle defense was able to create turnovers that kept the game competitive. Sophomore Tiwon Jones sank a jump shot at the buzzer to pull Coggs Prep within 9 at halftime, and the Eagles would pull to within 5 in the third quarter before Dominican's big run. Jones finished with 11 points.
'We forced them into some turnovers but we didn't capitalize on enough of those opportunities,' said Young Coggs head coach Tim Reichert, who saw his team win eight of its final 10 games. 'We knew we had to play a perfect game tonight and we just weren't able to finish some of those plays.'