The Dunham School opened strong and closed with equal force Tuesday night as the Tigers pulled away from Episcopal for a 60-47 District 7-2A win in boys basketball action at Dunham.
Dunham (15-5, 2-1) opened a 13-point first-quarter lead, and led 31-24 at halftime. Episcopal (15-7, 2-2) got as close as four points midway through the third period before Dunham turned on the jets again.
Dunham twice led by 19 points in the fourth quarter before settling for its 13-point win.
The Tigers’ Matt Williams made four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 24 points. Quinton Thomas had 23 points, and Dylon Maggio added 10 for Dunham.
“We started very well, and we finished very well,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “It’s the 21/2 quarters in between that we’ve got to learn how to deal with.
“I don’t think our team has that killer instinct yet, but we did develop some resiliency in the fourth quarter.”
Paul Johnson topped Episcopal with 17 points, and got support from Spencer Kleinpeter (13 points) and Stan Mays (10).
Johnson made three of four free throws at the start of the third quarter pulling Episcopal to within four points of Dunham. The Knights had two chances to cut into the lead further, but Mays was off the mark on a 3-pointer and Charles Cooper missed from under the basket.
Twice more in the quarter Episcopal got within four points, but Dunham answered each time. After Mays’ 3-pointer cut the deficit to 38-34 at the 3:41 mark, Dunham closed the quarter with a 7-2 run.
Thomas had two baskets in the run, and Williams hit 3-pointer as Episcopal could only counter with Johnson’s basket in the lane.
“I thought we did a good job coming out in the third quarter, but we missed some opportunities,” Episcopal coach Chris Beckman said. “Give Dunham credit. They did a great job guarding us. We rushed our shots, and they shot the ball very well.”
Dunham made nine of 13 from the floor in the first quarter, and went on to shoot 56 percent for the game (23 of 41). The Tigers didn’t shoot a free throw until the fourth quarter, and made seven of 10 down the stretch as they kept Episcopal on the ropes.
Besides Johnson, Episcopal struggled with its shooting for most of the game, and finished at 33 percent (14 of 42).
Opening the fourth quarter, Johnson was fouled as he scored on a driving basket, but missed the free throw as Dunham led 45-38. The Tigers then put the game away with a 14-2 run.
Thomas and Williams each had three-point plays, and the Tigers hit 6 of 8 free throws to take a 59-40 lead with two minutes left to play.
Pixley credited his half-court offense.
“Our guys really bought into the idea that if we can’t get something in transition then we run the half-court offense until we get exactly what we want,” Pixley said. “We were able to run some clock and get good shots.”
Dunham opened the game on a tear, and bolted out to a 12-2 lead three minutes into the game. Thomas got things going scoring on a drive, and a dunk off a fast break. Williams added a pair of 3-pointers from the right corner, and Thomas scored on a follow shot giving the Tigers a 10-point lead at the 4:54 mark.
Episcopal’s Johnson hit a 3-pointer, but Dunham kept up its torrid pace. Williams hit another 3-pointer, and Dylon Maggio added two 3-pointers of his own, both from the top of the key.
Episcopal countered with Spencer Kleinpeter’s 3-pointer, but trailed 23-12 after one quarter.