McNicholas guard Greg Kent tries to pass under the rim during the second half against Dunbar, Friday, March 13, 2015, at University of Dayton Arena.
All year long, McNicholas’ boys basketball team has talked about being the team to cut down the nets at the University of Dayton Arena.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, which were sectional champions for the first time since the 2001-2002 season, they had to watch another team climb the ladder and snip the twine.
Dayton Dunbar won 69-57 Friday for its ninth district title in the last 11 years.
“Obviously, we’ve always wanted to be up here (in Dayton),” senior guard Kyle Morrisroe said. “We didn’t want to settle and be satisfied with being here. We wanted to see how far we could go.”
The Wolverines took control of the game early with points in transition.
After Morrisroe put the Rockets up 4-2, Dunbar rattled off eight points in a row and eight of the next 12 to close the first quarter with a 10-point lead, 18-8.
The Wolverines led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter before McNick started to work its way back into the game.
Forward Jacob Bradley hit a runner to beat the halftime buzzer and close the gap to nine.
After the break, McNick came out on the attack.
Morrisroe mentioned in the first quarter he had trouble with Dunbar’s quickness but added that he and teammates seemed to get their legs under them more in the second half.
The Rockets outscored Dunbar 18-17 in the third quarter and were within eight points at the end of the frame.
Spurred on by Morrisroe and fellow senior guard Greg Kent, the Rockets worked their deficit to five points, 45-40, midway through the fourth quarter.
With the game the closest it had been since Dunbar led 13-8 in the first quarter, McNicholas started to get ahead of its self.
Dunbar’s pressure defense forced the Rockets to make bad passes. Just like that, the Wolverines’ lead was back up to 11 points.
“There were times when we were right there and then we would make a silly mistake,” Rockets head coach Tim Monahan said. “We’d get a rebound and try to get it out as quick as we could and play hot potato with it.”
Dunbar took advantage of the miscues, putting the game out of reach soon after that.
The Wolverines advance to play the winner of Johnstown-Monroe and Columbus South. McNick finishes the season 13-12.
“Our guys fought and never gave up,” Monahan said. “We told our six seniors that they’ve opened the door for years to come.”