Dunham pulls away from Pope John Paul in second half

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Second-seeded Dunham slowly knocked off the rust associated with a first-round bye and not playing a game in 12 days.

The homestanding Tigers trailed by a point at halftime, opened a six-point lead after three quarters before looking more reminiscent of the team with state championship aspirations in a 67-46 victory Tuesday over No. 15 Pope John Paul in a Division III state regional playoff game.

Dunham will host St. Charles, a 60-38 winner over Parkview Baptist, in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

“They’ve got everything it takes,” PJP coach Jay Carlin said of Dunham. “They have shooters, they have defenders, they get out in transition.”

Dunham (26-7) watched PJP (23-10) shoot a blistering 73% in the first half, including eight 3-pointers, and trailed 34-33 at halftime.

“It was a wakeup call; that’s for sure,” Dunham coach Chad Myers said.

Dunham combated its first-half slumber with an emphatic second half, outscoring PJP 34-12 and limiting the Jaguars to 28% shooting and one 3-pointer.

Mason Lavergne paced Dunham with 21 points, including three 3-pointers, while center Elijah Haven had 15 and reserve Eason Jarreau had 15 off the bench on five 3-pointers.

The Tigers equaled the Jaguars with nine 3-pointers.

Dunham forced PJP into consecutive timeouts with a 7-0 spurt out of the halftime locker room that was highlighted by Brayden Rabalais’ hustle, diving over the PJP bench to save a ball that Lavergne turned into a layup.

With A.J. Oliver getting the assignment, the Tigers also made a conscious effort to slow down PJP’s Nathan Babin, who hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the first half.

Dunham, which trailed 33-28 in the second quarter, blew the game open midway through the fourth quarter. The Tigers, who forced 10 of their 18 turnovers in the second half, went on a decisive 21-3 run over a 3½ minute stretch, making 7 of 10 shots with five of those being 3-pointers for a 65-41 lead with 4:04 remaining.

Jarreau had four of his 3-pointers and Lavergne added another, but the true gem in that sequence was set up by Rabalais’ blocked shot. Lavergne pushed the ball and found Haven for an alley-oop slam dunk that brought the house down.

“It starts on the defensive end,” said Myers, whose team has won 10 of its past 11 games. “Once we do that the offense comes. I’m pleased with our second half. We can’t do that Friday night, or we’ll be going home.”

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Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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