Divine Child Edges Dearborn High in Hoops Rivalry
A solid defense sparked a narrow win for the Falcons, who hold onto their no-loss season.
Fans expected a good, tough game.
Coaches expected a good, tough game.
Players expected a good, tough game.
Not a single person left disappointed.
"It was a good game," Divine Child coach Andy Dold said. "We came in here expecting that and we got it."
The Falcons were undersized and were forced to use their intensity and defense pressure to their advantage against a bigger Pioneers squad.
"They did a good job on us," Dearborn coach Kevin Barkoff said. "I have to give them credit for their defense tonight."
Defense is the name of the game for the Falcons, and the team has enough shooters to compensate for their relative lack of size and inside presence.
"It's all about our defensive effort," Divine Child senior Ryan Nadeau said. "That's what we take the most pride in. We know we're not the biggest team out there so we have to make up for that with really good defense. I thought we did OK defensively tonight."
The effort was solid, according to Dold, but there is plenty of work to be done before the Catholic League season tips off after the first of the year.
"We still need a lot of work in a lot of areas, particularly our help-side defense," Dold said. "We're improving, but we need to get a lot better."
Contests such as the one against DHS can help this cause, Dold says, and test the team as well.
"These games are really all about learning things about the team," Dold said. "The outcome isn't as important as what we learn. Now, we want to win. We work hard to win. But it's really about what we can take away from the game at this point in the season."
Barkoff also found some areas that need improvement on his team.
"We've got to be able to do what they did to us tonight—play hard-nosed defense, without fouling, and shut teams down," he said. "We just didn't do that tonight."
The defeat comes on the heels of a tough two-point loss to Southgate—another contest where the Pioneers couldn't find that stingy defense the team is known for.
"How we played against Southgate was similar to tonight," Barkoff said. "We couldn't really get much going offensively, and then we couldn't really clamp down defensively either. We'd score and they'd come down and get a really good look. Our defensive problems are really an execution thing.
"These guys just aren't playing good defense before their man gets the ball."
The Falcons used a combination of scrappy play, intensity and timely buckets to jump to an early 17-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Dearborn High closed the gap at the break to four points, 29-25.
In the third quarter, however, Divine Child pulled away, knocking down three-point shots and keeping the Pioneers off the offensive glass, despite the size difference. The Falcons led by as many as 13 points in the quarter, before Dearborn roared back, outscoring Divine Child 19-13 in the final quarter, and falling just short on the scoreboard as the buzzer sounded.
"This is a big rivalry game for us," Nadeau said. "We were definitely up for the game. It's a nice win for us. They're a good team."
Dearborn's Khalil Beidoun led all scorers with 27 points, while Divine Child was paced by Nadeua's 15 points.