By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– It was as expected when Dayton and Amity met Friday night.
Physical and heated play on the court was met by the passion from the rival crowds off of it in the Pirates 61-56 win over the Warriors as the first loop of PacWest Conference play draws to an end here in a few days.
In a game in which both teams had traded blows into the second half and into the latter part of the third quarter, Dayton had the rumblings to pull away from Amity and building a hard fought 43-39 lead entering the final quarter of play
“Our energy is really what brought it. We got all of our fans, our bench was hyped. We got a lot of rebounds which helped us get second chance points and kind of take away with it,” said the Pirates Payton Garrison.
It’s seems strange to think, maybe not entirely with how many good teams came through the two programs the last several years if not longer in the history of the rivalry, that Dayton has been 3-3 at home versus the Warriors the last six years entering 2020.
The Pirates extending their lead to 45-39 45 seconds into the fourth quarter only to see George Hatch drain a three to pull Amity to three of Dayton looking for their fourth win in Dayton in seven years.
But just the little things cost the Warriors to pull back to even, if not the lead of Dayton in the fourth as the closest they got for the remainder of the game was 51-47 following Josh Wart’s 2-for-2 trip at the line.
Coming off of a tough loss against a surging Salem Academy team that’s sitting 4-0 in league Tuesday after their 18-point comeback over Santiam Christian Monday, but sitting 2-2 in PacWest Conference play with six league games left, there’s no reason to sound the alarm.
“Coming off a tough loss we wanted to jump back and get a bounce back win this game. Things just didn’t fall into place,” said Kennan Graham. “Silly turnovers, it slipped and the score just slipped and we couldn’t comeback.”
“It’s two losses, we’re 14-3 right? It’s not that big of a deal. Yeah they are legue losses, which puts us lower in league…we’re third in league right now. But we’re still fine, we’re going to be fine. We just got to put it behind us, get a win against Blanchet, YC and Scio and comeback to SA over at their place and try to get a difficult win.”
Dayton pushed their lead to double-figures before Amity cut it to single-digits in the closing minutes of the game as they remember too their 52-50 loss to the Crusaders on January 14.
And as they look to the rematch with Salem Academy January 31 in Dayton, Garrison admits that their loss a few games back was an eye-opener as they want to prove their one of the top teams in the PacWest come season’s end.
“We had a tough loss to Salem Academy last week and we wanted to come out and prove ourselves that we are one of the top teams in league. We’re hoping for another chance against Salem Academy here,” said Garrison. “Just keeping up the energy. Taking smart shots, being in the games. We got to make our free throws obviously, they weren’t too good.
“But yeah, rebound, keep up the energy and playing aggressive.”
Garrison finished with 14 points, as did Justin Morales. Dawson Ashley led the Pirates with 21 points. Wart finished with 24 points for the Warriors and Graham finished with 17 for Amity Friday night.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald