On New Year’s Eve Wednesday night, the Dunbar girls basketball team spent plenty of time watching the “ball drop” into the basket.
Keri Jewett scored 24 points, Kiara Desamours had 16 and Jamiah Bland had 14 as the Tigers beat Plantation-American Heritage 80-43 in the title game of the Ruby Division of the Queen of the Palms Tournament at Dunbar High.
The Tigers started the rout midway through the first period as the girls basketball mega-tournament ended at sites throughout Lee County.
Skyla Osceola had 18 points for American Heritage and Samantha Johnson also had 12.
Desamours was named the MVP of the tournament.
Despite a rather one-sided win, Dunbar coach Dwayne Donnell wasn’t pleased with everything that transpired in the Tiger’s lair.
“This was as ugly as a lopsided win that I’ve ever seen,” Donnell said. “We definitely didn’t play our best tonight. We saw tonight that we definitely have some things to work on. But we got to hold a championship trophy at the end of it, and as a coach, I’m pleased with that.”
In winning all three games in the tournament Monday through Friday, the Tigers set the tone with an aggressive defense.
“Our defense has played well all week long,” Donnell said. “We made some great defensive stands and pressure tonight. Our defense always does a good good in getting after that ball. We made a lot of plays in transition, and we are very good in the transition.”
Both the Tigers and Patriots came out ready to roll with plenty of scoring early. Dunbar began to assert itself at the end of the first quarter, at the conclusion of which the Tigers were ahead 21-12. Late in the first and early in the second, Dunbar went on a 16-5 run and led by as many as 20 points in the second with a 42-20 halftime advantage.
The Tigers piled up the lead by running an effective fast break while shutting down the Patriots inside on the other end.
Dunbar continued to pound it inside with an occasional outside shot. Osceola continued to give the Patriots hope with three 3-point baskets in the third, but the Tigers still led 65-41 after three.
Osceola would provide the Patriots with their only points of the last frame with an outside jump shot.
As for 2015, Donnell hopes Dunbar can keep improving.
“It’s been a gratifying season so far,” Donnell said. “We’re on, I think, a 5-6 game winning streak. We have some games coming up against good teams next week, so we have some work to do. We want to be in position to win our last game of the season — that is, the state championship.”