The last time Dexter basketball won a District championship, George W. Bush was president, Twitter didn’t exist, and Daniel Powter’s single “Bad Day” was the most popular song of the year, per Billboard.
This all changed Saturday, as Dexter won its first District championship since 2006 in dominant fashion, knocking off Skyline 56-37.
Dexter (16-3) advances to the regional semifinal, where it will face undefeated Ann Arbor Huron (16-0), the No. 2 team in Division 1 from the Associated Press rankings. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday from Northville High School. Huron advanced after Ypsilanti Lincoln was forced to withdraw from the MHSAA playoffs Saturday due to COVID-19 protocols.
The other side of the bracket features Livonia Stevenson vs. Salem. The Regional final is at 7 p.m. on April 1 at Northville HS.
Dexter Coach Jason Rushton said it was a “fun” night.
“Skyline is a tough team,” Rushton said. “They came in off of two hard-fought wins after a long quarantine, so we knew we were in for a battle. We played tough, and that’s all you can ask of your team in moments like this.
“These young man have worked hard for this moment. We’re thankful to be able to have an opportunity to be together again and work to get better.”
Seniors led the way for the Dreadnaughts against the visiting Eagles on Saturday. Colin Parachek led all players with 15 points, and Aidan Dexter tallied 13 in the final home high school basketball game for both players.
Junior point guard Cal Bavineau turned in a stellar performance of his own, scoring nine points and commanding Dexter’s offense against Skyline’s stingy half-court zone.
Dexter fell behind early, and initially struggled against Skyline’s zone, but found offensive rhythm halfway through the first quarter. Trailing 7-5, Parachek gave Dexter the lead it would not relinquish in a crazy sequence that saw him hit a jumper, force a jump ball turnover, and sink a second jump shot in a 20-second span.
Two triples from Aidan Dexter in the quarter and a late jumper from Bavineau gave Dexter a 14-11 lead after a fast-paced, exciting first quarter.
Dexter opened the second quarter with an 8-1 run. After Parachek drained a three-pointer, Bavineau converted a highlight-reel three-point play, crossing up a defender, absorbing contact, and laying the ball high off the window and in.
Parachek scored again after a steal from senior Sam Sterlitz, extending the Dreadnaught lead to 22-12 and forcing Skyline to call timeout.
Skyline, who ended Dexter’s season last year in the district semifinal, wasn’t about to go quietly. The Eagles closed Dexter’s lead to six with an 8-4 run in the final 4 minutes of the half.
Senior Chris Cayton led Skyline with eight points, and Dinalli DeLoach scored seven for the Eagles.
Dexter responded with a run of its own to begin the third quarter, restoring its double-digit lead. The Dreads were able to shred Skyline’s zone with precise ball movement and make open shots. After Parachek converted two free throws, Aidan Dexter and sophomore Evan Haroldson made three-pointers, giving Dexter a 34-22 lead.
Dexter’s momentum didn’t vanish. Haroldson made another three, and Bavineau scored a layup on a beautiful drive in the final minutes of the third quarter. Dexter led 41-26 after the quarter.
Skyline briefly showed signs of life early in the fourth quarter. Power forward Will Gardner scored a three-point play, drawing contact on a spin move and converting the basket, cutting Dexter’s lead to 41-29. Gardner scored seven points for the Eagles.
Twelve was as close as Skyline would get in the fourth quarter. Junior Ty Rychener and sophomore Brennan Parachek each scored four points in the final quarter for the Dreads.