Dunham’s defense stepped up in the third quarter to help power the Tigers to a 62-46 Division III boys basketball quarterfinal victory over The Church Academy Friday at Dunham.
Led by the trapping skills of senior guard Oddyst Walker, Dunham went on a 17-0 over the final three minutes of the third quarter and first two minutes of the fourth quarter to pull ahead 53-32.
Walker scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in that third quarter. He grabbed 15 rebounds, made five steals and had four assists.
“I just did what we needed to do to get the win,” Walker said. “Defense is my role on the team. Coach told me to attack on offense. It’s always exciting to get a home playoff win.”
No. 2 Dunham (24-7) advances to a semifinal game against No. 3 Country Day in Lake Charles. Country Day defeated Dunham 70-41 in the Division III state final last season.
Dunham also got 13 points from junior Ralph Davenport, 12 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore Salle Wilson and 10 points from Jordan Wright.
“We locked up pretty good on defense tonight,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “I don’t feel like we had one of our better offensive games. Our guys have been waiting for this opportunity to go back to state all year. We’re excited.”
Pixley said Walker plays hard every minute of the game.
“Oddyst is our energy boost guy,” he said. “He’s non-stop on both ends of the court. He’s one of the hungriest players I’ve ever coached. He reads things so well and can create with his athleticism.”
No. 10 Church Academy (22-13) was led by six seniors and advanced to the quarterfinals this season after reaching the regionals in 2017. Seniors Ezekial McMurtry and Ellison Booker led the way with 15 and 14 points, respectively. McMurty also grabbed 12 rebounds.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Church Academy coach Ryan Price said. “They never quit and played with good effort. Dunham is a very good team and Oddyst Walker is a smart player who can play at the next level. We settled in and made it a game.”
The Crusaders pulled within 10-9 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter on a Booker follow shot. Dunham went on a 13-0 run with Davenport and Walker scoring two baskets each. Walker dunked and followed that with a baseline-driving layup to put the Tigers up 23-9.
Dunham led 28-17 at the half. The Crusaders went on a 15-8 run to open the third quarter and cut the deficit to 36-32 on a 3-pointer by Wilson with 3:28 remaining. Walker scored the next 10 points for the Tigers. He started that surge with a hard driving layup before hitting two 3-pointers sandwiched around two free throws. Wilson’s layup completed the 17-0 run.
Dunham has defeated its two playoff foes by a combined 135-62 margin.