Huron girls top Dexter in district tuneup, 34-19
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
Huron coach Steve Vinson thought it seemed like a playoff game.
Dexter coach Mike Bavineau hopes his team plays completely differently once the postseason starts Monday.
Huron held Dexter to single digits scoring in all four quarters, including two in the third, of a 34-19 win Friday night at home in a matchup of Southeastern Conference first place teams. Dexter was champions of the SEC White Division, Huron of the Red.
The game served as the regular-season finale for both teams. Dexter finished the year at 17-3, and Huron finished at 15-5.
Now, both can officially look forward to Monday, when they both open the playoffs with district quarterfinal games at Huron. Dexter will take on Skyline, while Huron will take on Ypsilanti.
But Dexter wouldn’t let the looming playoffs -- and the fact that crossover games don’t count in the league standings -- be an excuse for a tough outing.
“In the grand scheme, this game doesn’t mean anything,” Bavineau said. “Monday’s game is really, really big. We can’t let this affect how we play Monday and give someone an opportunity to knock us off.”
Both teams came out cold on a tough night for offense. Neither team could score in the first four minutes of the game, and Dexter took a 6-5 lead into the first break.
But the Dreadnaughts didn’t get another bucket until the 2:32 mark of the second quarter, while Huron went on a 9-0 run, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Payton Sims.
Huron never trailed again, as it played a stingy half-court defense that denied the Dreadnaughts any open looks from outside and kept them out of the paint.
“It was one of those grind out victories,” Vinson said. “It felt like a kind of a playoff game, a playoff atmosphere, where you’ve just got to win with really good defense and getting stops.”
The game marked a season-low for points scored for both teams. Dexter’s previous low this season was 32 points. Huron’s was 37.
“We just couldn’t get the ball in the basket,” Bavineau said. “We were tentative with the ball.”
Kira Smith led Huron with 9 points, while Sims and Auzhane King each had six. Makenzie Svirha led Dexter with five.
Of Dexter’s three regular-season losses, two have now come to Huron. The Dreadnaughts lost, 49-37, to Huron Feb. 5.
So despite the timing of the rematch, Bavineau said his team had plenty of motivation heading in.
“We were excited and ready to play them because we wanted to prove our worth and prove that we could do the things that we needed to do to beat them,” Bavineau said.
Friday could end up being the second in a three-game series between the two teams. If both win their quarterfinal and semifinal games, they would meet in a district final at 7 p.m. next Friday.
And if that happens, Vinson expects another defensive battle.
“I thought it was a really good way to go into districts because it was that type of playoff atmosphere,” Vinson said.