NEWARK – One of the state’s perennial powers came into Jimmy Allen Gymnasium on Friday, and the Wildcats could not keep up.
Nobody, however, was dropping their heads. Newark knows where it stands and where it can go after falling to Dayton Dunbar 75-58 in the season opener. Newark’s freshest face B.J. Duling brought the crowd to the its feet with a pair of dunks, but the Wolverines were too deep.
“A lot of what we are going to gain is from watching film (Saturday),” Newark coach Jeff Quackenbush said. “It is hard to run offense because they trap you so much, so your kids just have to learn to play in space. We struggled with that.”
Newark, which graduated its entire starting lineup from the 2014-15 district champion, committed 23 turnovers. The Wildcats trailed 20-9 after one quarter and were never able to slow the Wolverines, who won each quarter.
Dunbar also graduated a chunk of its lineup from a regional champion, but it appears the Wolverines simply are reloading. Sh’Mari Jamison came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points.
“(Jamison and JaQuan Thomas) came in defensively and just kind of changed the game for us,” Dunbar coach Peter Pullen said. “Our kids are used to stepping up. We even have a starter out.”
After Newark took the initial punch, the Wildcats appeared to be gaining ground early in the second quarter. Kobe Long-Weber hit a 3-pointer following the first of Duling’s dunks, and the Wildcats trailed just 27-20 when Duling, who transferred from New Albany, went to the bench with his second foul with just over four minutes left in the half.
Dunbar pulled away with Duling on the bench, grabbing a 38-24 halftime lead. Duling again attempted to rally the Wildcats in the third quarter, slamming a short lob in transition from Evan Thomas to complete a 2-on-1, but two late turnovers in the third quarter led to Jamison’s layup just before the buzzer to allow the Wolverines to regain their 14-point lead.
Dennison and Long-Weber connected twice along the sideline for transition layups early in the game, but Dunbar’s constant pressing eventually wore down Newark. The Wildcats were attacking the press in the first 1 1/2 quarters, but by the second half, they were simply trying to survive.
“I think you have a little bit of both (passing and dribbling to break pressure),” Quackenbush said. “Your guys have to be in the correct areas, and at times, we struggled with that. It’s the first game of the year. One thing we pride ourselves on is watching film and working hard. It’s one game. We have a bunch to go.”
Stormi Cook and Chris Jackson each hit two of Dunbar’s six 3-pointers. Terrance Landers, who is a Bowling Green football recruit, added 12 points.
“I am proud of how we fight and how we compete,” Pullen said. “If they go hard every play, the scoreboard will take care of itself. Our kids are used to that. Even though the faces may change, our will and desire is still there.”
Duling hit 3 from the corner and scored on two post moves as a part of a 10-point fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 21 points. Justin Carter added nine points.
“We struggled to get (Duling) the ball enough, but again, they trap and make you play so far out on the floor that we struggled to get him the ball consistently where he could score,” Quackenbush said. “There are a lot of things he’s good at and needs to continue to work on each part of his game.”
Dayton Dunbar 20-18-13-24 — 75
Newark 9-15-11-21 — 58
Dunbar: 28-49 FG, 13-24 FT, 6-15 3pt. (Cook 3, Thomas 1, Jackson 1, Moore-Clancey 1) 22 rebounds (Jamison 5), 16 turnovers. Scoring: Cook 4 1-2 12; Jackson 3 0-0 8, Beavers 3 0-0 6, Strange 0 1-2 1, Jamison 6 6-9 18, Landers 5 2-5 12, Baker 3 0-1 6, Moore-Clancey 1 0-0 3, Thomas 3 2-4 9.
Newark: 21-40 FG, 11-14 FT, 3-10 3pt. (Long-Weber 1, Duling 1, Pressley 1) 28 rebounds (Duling 5, Jarrett 5), 23 turnovers. Scoring: Carter 4 1-2 9; Heard 2 0-0 4, Duling 8 4-5 21, Murphy 1 0-1 2, Long-Weber 3 0-0 7, Thomas 2 4-4 8, Dennison 0 2-2 2, Jarrett 1 0-0 2, Pressley 1 0-0 3.