SAGINAW — Strong guard play was the key for Fort Worth Dunbar in Tuesday’s 71-45 boys basketball Class 4A bi-district win over White Settlement Brewer.
Senior Da’Lante Brooks and junior Dennis Jones combined to score 46 points themselves, including six three-pointers. Jones led all scorers with 24, while Brooks netted 22 and keyed the Wildcat defense with four steals.
“We needed to get [Brooks] involved early,” Jones said. “When we get both of us going, we usually get the win.”
The guards held true to that to open things against Brewer, as Jones’ offensive rebound and no-look pass inside gave Brooks his first bucket of the game and put Dunbar up 9-0 midway through the first quarter. The Wildcats (21-9) went on a 12-0 run before Brewer closed the deficit.
Bears guard Taro Ford drove baseline and got fouled for a three-point play with 2:22 left in the first. His three-pointer less than a minute later closed the gap to 14-11, and Dunbar took a 17-13 lead after one.
Ford led the Bears (16-18) with 14 points and three steals.
“[Brewer] was able to catch back up in no time, and that’s how it is in the playoffs. All these teams can play,” said Dunbar coach Robert Hughes Jr. “Our defense is what really allowed us to extend that lead again and get out of here with the win.”
The Wildcat defense allowed just nine Brewer points in the second quarter, and steals gave Dunbar the extra possessions it needed to spread the lead to 17, up 39-22 at halftime. The Wildcats slowed the pace in the third before a 25-point fourth quarter.
Dunbar was also clean and careful with the basketball, committing just 11 turnovers, while forcing Brewer into 18.
The Wildcats’ win sets up a familiar match-up in the area round against Fort Worth Wyatt, which advanced Tuesday with a win over Crowley.
“The only statement we wanted to make is that we’re happy to get a win in the playoffs,” Hughes Jr. said. “It’s been a long time. We’re not done yet, though.”
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