The Dunham School’s basketball coach Jonathan Pixley sensed what was about to transpire and desperately tried to halt Episcopal’s surge.
He did so twice within a three-minute span of the third quarter to no avail.
Episcopal put some of its best offensive moments of the season together during a decisive second-half blitz. It was enough to carry the Knights to an impressive 69-43 District 6-2A victory Tuesday over Dunham at home Tuesday night.
“There wasn’t a whole lot we could do,” Pixley said. “At this point they’re better than us and deserve to win. You hate to lose and especially like this. It is what it is.”
The season sweep for Episcopal (24-2, 9-0) over Dunham (17-10, 8-2) extended its win streak to 17 games and moved the Knights a step closer to the league’s title with three games remaining.
Senior guard Spencer Kleinpeter did a lot of the heavy lifting in the first half, scoring 16 of his game-high 30 points, before spreading the wealth during a second half in which the Knights outscored the Tigers, 45-27.
“You never expect to win by this margin,” Episcopal coach Chris Beckman said. “It got away from Dunham a little bit but we had a lot to do with that. Jerry Dunbar did a fabulous job on Levi Bradley. We had a lot of easy shots we missed early in the game and stayed with it.”
Chris Beckman Jr., who was held scoreless by Bradley in the first half, triggered the first of Episcopal’s third-quarter runs with a 3-pointer with subsequent lay-ups from Kevin Tripeaux and Dunbar for a 33-20 lead at the 5:08 mark.
Episcopal increased its lead to 40-25 on another 3-pointer from Beckman, who scored 11 points in the second half.
“Chris struggled in the first half and didn’t score and for us to be up is a real testament to the rest of the guys,” coach Beckman said. “I thought our defensive and offensive execution in the second half was really good.”
That was a byproduct of Kleinpeter’s ability to consistently get inside of Dunham’s defense where he scored 12 of his team’s 14 points in the second quarter for a 24-16 halftime lead.
“The first half I kind of carried things because they locked up on Chris and left the lane wide open,” Kleinpeter said.
“In the second half they keyed on me more and Chris was open.”
Bradley scored seven of his team-high 14 points for Dunham but Episcopal, which made its first four shots of the fourth quarter, made 11 of 13 shots in all and wound up shooting 72 percent for the half.
Tripeaux was the beneficiary of three straight lay-ups that were the result of penetration by Kleinpeter or Beckman Jr. and finished with 16 points.
A three-point play from Kleinpeter with 2:16 made it 62-41 with fan favorite reserve David Wade’s layup accounting for the final score with 24 seconds showing.
“That’s definitely the best we executed this year,” coach Beckman said. “I thought we did a really good job of handling them trying to put pressure and trying to take something away. We shared the ball, we screened well, hit the man at the right time and were able to finish and that’s against a team that knows what we’re doing and knows our personnel.”