Some boys basketball teams like to start fast, while others tend to wait back and mount a furious finish.
Second-seeded University High did both while claiming a 46-32 victory over District 7-2A rival The Dunham School in Class 2A regional-round playoff action Friday night at Dunham.
The Cubs (30-2) raced out to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter, only to see Dunham cut that lead to one going into the fourth quarter. Henry Shortess and D.J. White helped key a 25-12 fourth-quarter run.
White finished with a game-high 20 points and scored seven fourth-quarter points at key points. Shortess made two 3-pointers.
“A game like this is not easy,” University coach Joe Spencer said. “We know Dunham and have nothing but respect for them. They fought like I knew they would.
“In the fourth quarter, we were able to make some shots and do some things to extend our lead. Henry was big for us and so was D.J. White. In district, a lot of teams keyed on him. Tonight, Dunham chose to key on Wayde (Sims), and that opened up some things for our other guys.”
The Cubs (30-2) play the Lakeview-Sterlington winner in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round. Jalen Johnson had 11 and Shortess added nine, all on 3-pointers, for the winners.
Quinton Thomas scored 13 points to lead Dunham (23-8). Brian Blume added nine for the Tigers and also hit three 3-pointers.
“I was proud of the way we battled,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “At this point, they’re just better than we are. They have too much height and skill. Ultimately, that made the difference.
University surged out to its 11-0 lead in the first quarter by making 5-of-9 shots from the field. By contrast, Dunham was 0-of-7 and had four first-quarter turnovers.
White set the tone for the Cubs by banking in two short jumpers from the left side to make it a 4-0 two and a half minutes into the first quarter.
White finished with six first-quarter points, while Johnson added a 3-pointer for UHS.
Blume’s 3-pointer from the top of the key ended Dunham’s drought with 7:15 remaining in the half. The already deliberate pace continued in the second quarter. U-High went through a mini-drought of its own and didn’t score until Chris Moore sank a 3-pointer at the 5:41 mark.
Dunham got no closer than six points, as UHS took a 16-8 halftime lead. The third quarter, belonged to the Tigers, thanks to Thomas, who scored eight points in the period.
Another 3-pointer by Blume helped jump start Dunham’s rally. Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 4:40 left and then elevated over the taller U-High defense to sink a jumper with 1:55 remaining to cut the UHS lead to three.
Finally, with 1:33 left, Thomas scored on a layup off a pass by Dylon Maggio, making it a 21-20 lead.
But the Tigers never managed to take the lead. White scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to give UHS some breathing room. Two 3-pointers by Shortess sandwiched around a turnaround jumper by White upped the Cubs lead to 11 at 35-24 with 4:20 left. Dunham never got any closer.
“I was open and I was lucky enough to make a couple of shots,” Shortess said. “I love about this team and the way we work together. If one guy is shut down, somebody else steps up.”