Dayton exorcises demons to win fifth state championship

Dayton exorcises demons to win fifth state championship

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Dayton exorcises demons to win fifth state championship

COOS BAY – Few towns in Oregon know how to celebrate state championships quite like they do in Dayton.

That’s because they’ve won so many.

Dayton High School’s boys basketball team emphatically answered a furious third quarter charge from De La Salle North Catholic Saturday night to win 64-55 in the OSAA Class 3A state championship game at Marshfield High School.

Dayton's boys basketball team celebrates with its OSAA Class 3A state championship game on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Dayton’s boys basketball team celebrates with its OSAA Class 3A state championship game on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

The state championship is the fifth in the program’s history, the others coming in 2001, 2002, 2012 and 2015, the last when this year’s seniors were freshmen.

“No one wanted us to win this,” said senior Zach Bernards, who scored 26 points and had eight rebounds. “All year no one wanted us to win it. And we came out and did it. That’s sweet. That makes it sweet. Everyone doubted us.

“It’s great. I’m so proud of everyone on this team. I love this community. You can’t describe moments like this.”

Dayton (28-1) charged out to an early lead, was up 28-20 at halftime behind deft shooting – the team was 11 of 28 from the field in the first half – and had the game seemingly in control.

But De La Salle North Catholic’s athleticism and skill in the half-court game and chipped away at the lead little by little.

Dayton’s lead was 43-41 going to the fourth quarter, but Dayton went on an immediate 8-0 run and the Pirates closed out eh game in an impressive manor.

Dayton senior Jalen Flowers scored 13 points and had eight rebounds, Bailey West scored 10 points and Tanner Lewis scored nine points, had seven rebounds and four blocks.

Dayton's Zach Bernards (11) chases down a loose ball in the OSAA Class 3A state championship game on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Dayton’s Zach Bernards (11) chases down a loose ball in the OSAA Class 3A state championship game on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

“All our guys are banged up,” Dayton coach Ron Hop said. “That’s what happens in a tournament. We weren’t real healthy coming n in here, but I’m just proud of our kids, the way we battled.

“If you’ve seen us play this year, we’ve had some games where we’re graceful and everything looks great. It didn’t look all that graceful and great down here, but you know what, it’s a grinder tournament, and we’re just happy to get three. It’s just kind of a testament to them.”

bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com or Twitter.com/bpoehler

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