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Dorman Wins Second Straight AAAAA Boy’s Title Over Irmo, 44-33 (With Photo Gallery)

Columbia--A year ago, Dorman walked off the Colonial Life Arena at USC floor with its first boy’s basketball state championship in school history. Coach Thomas Ryan had to replace all five starters from that team, but the Cavaliers are back in a familiar spot after a 44-33 victory over Irmo Friday gave them back-to-back Class AAAAA state title.

“We had 9 returnees from last year’s state championship team but five new starters,” Ryan said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of losing five starters then repeating without a resiliency, toughness and a belief in a system. I couldn’t be more proud.”

It was a fantastic defensive effort and the play of sophomore Myles Tate that proved to be the difference.

Dorman (25-4) was trailing late in the first half but Tate’s three free throws in the final seconds brought the Cavaliers to within 19-15 at the break. That was the momentum they needed to carry them into the second half.

Spurned on by four three-pointers in the third quarter, it ended up being a 23-7 run that included 11 straight at one point. That turned what was a 7-point Irmo lead into a 35-26 Dorman advantage later in the quarter.

PJ Hall started the decisive run and gave Dorman the lead for good with a 3-pointer with 4:06 remaining in the quarter. Tate hit a jumper then Ethan Parton and Tate connected on consecutive three’s to make the Cavaliers bench go into a frenzy.

“We knew what coach Whipple likes to do with his team,” Ryan said. “They were playing at their pace in the first half, but we were great defensively in the third quarter. Our on the ball defense was really, really good. The pressure we put on them was just outstanding and that was big.”

Irmo got within six early in the third quarter but the Dorman defense limited the Yellow Jackets to 14 second half points and 25 percent shooting in the second half.

“It was our experience,” Tate said of the huge comeback. “We’ve been here before. We were down 12-0 at Riverside and we remembered that. We knew we could come back.”

That run was sort of indicative of Irmo’s season. They turned it over 18 times and could never get into a flow offensively.

“It’s not like we did anything different,” Irmo coach Tim Whipple said. “We’ve turned the ball over a lot this year and struggled to score but what we’ve been fortunate in is we’ve been able to get over it. Tonight, we weren’t. They shoot the ball well, but the turnovers were the killer.”

Tate finished with a game-high 20 points and added three steals, two rebounds and two assists.

“It feels pretty good, all thanks to God, I couldn’t do it without him, but I also want to thank my teammates,” Tate said. “They push me every day in practice and we’ve been working on this since last year. With all the turnover we’ve had, it’s a great feeling.”

Irmo was in the state finals for the 10th time under Whipple and are 5-5 in those contest. But this is probably the most unlikely run in Whipple’s 37 years at the helm.

Irmo was 11-7 and 2-5 in region play before rallying to make the unexpected run to the title game.

“If I would have ever dreamed we would be here playing tonight, I could’ve probably made a lot of money in Vegas,” Whipple said. “This group, what they accomplished, was absolutely incredible. It wasn’t about this game to me; it was about the journey to get here. It was incredible. I’m so proud of these guys.”

 D – Myles Tate 20, Hall 8, Parton 6, Smith 6, Bryant 2, Finley 2. I – Winston Hill 13, Caldwell 6, Williams 6, Young 3, H. Rivers 3, B. Rivers 2.

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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