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Charlotte, N.C. – After a slow start that saw Gaston Day claim a 35-34 lead at the break, senior Devin Dotson (Kansas signee) erupted for 21 points in the second half to propel Providence Day to a 82-74 victory.
Friday’s game at the 8th Annual Charlotte Hoops Challenge saw two of the country’s premier guards fighting for regional dominance. Gaston Day’s Nate Hinton (Houston signee) displayed an ability to stop the lethal Dotson as the six-foot-six guard anchored a Spartans defense that allowed just eight points in the first quarter.
Dotson and Hinton defended one another for the duration of Friday’s showcase. Hinton provided the Spartans with a surge of energy in the early-going that was not unnoticed by Providence Day head coach Brian Field.
“They were doing a great job defensively. We had trouble getting good looks early,” said Field. “We didn’t match their intensity out of the gate.”
Dotson began to find his rhythm in the second quarter of action though. The future Jayhawk exhibited his exceptional speed as the Chargers notched eight straight points in transition to cut the Gaston Day lead to 25-23 with 4:43 remaining in the second quarter.
With all the hype surrounding the Dotson versus Hinton matchup, it was Gaston Day forward Demilade Adelekun that stole the show in the first half. The six-foot-eight junior posted a first half double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. According to Team Loaded NC (Adelekun’s team on the AAU circuit) the Gaston Day forward has received interest from Princeton, Yale, Lafayette, Mount Saint Mary’s and Oklahoma State.
Providence Day senior Isaac Suffren also emerged with a breakout performance during Friday’s contest. The six-foot-three guard poured in 21 points and 5 rebounds on the win. Suffren (unsigned) has received interest from Elon, USC Upstate and Drexel per Prep Hoops and Basketball Society.
Providence Day continued to blitz the Spartans in the third quarter with the team’s up-tempo style of play. Dotson forced the issue as the Chargers jumped out to their first lead of the game by a margin of 42-39.
“We like to push the ball,” said Field. “We had some opportunities off our defense that generated easy offense for us- got us right back in the game [and] I thought gave us a little confidence.”
Hinton battled hard in the closing minutes of the third quarter. The Houston recruit found Adelekun for an assist during one possession before charging coast-to-coast with six seconds remaining to hit a floater at the horn. The two teams entered the fourth quarter with Providence Day leading 55-54.
The Chargers and Spartans exchanged baskets early and often in the decisive fourth quarter. With four minutes left to play, Dotson connected with a crucial three-pointer to give Providence Day its largest lead of the game at 69-63. Unrelenting, Spartan senior MJ Armstrong found a corner three of his own and Adelekun powered through for a bucket to keep Gaston Day within two points.
With under two minutes to go, Providence Day came through with a crucial performance during the game’s most critical stretch. After failing to convert on offense, Gaston Day swarmed the Chargers in the half court in hopes of forcing a turnover. Instead, Providence Day senior Kyle Wood broke the pressure and found sophomore John Miralia for a wide-open dunk to give the Chargers a 74-68 lead with 1:25 to go.
Gaston Day made a valiant charge late in the game, but the disciplined Chargers refused to turn the ball over and senior Trey Wertz (Santa Clara commit) closed the window of opportunity with some clutch free-throw shooting.
After the game, Dotson attributed his 21-point outburst in the second half to staying patient and letting the game come to him.
“I just take what the defense gives me. In the first half they did a good job of slowing me down, but I just moved the ball around and just took what the defense gave me and came out with the win,” said Dotson.
Dotson led all scorers with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Suffren and Wertz finished with 21 and 19 points respectively. For Gaston Day, Adelekun headlined the Spartans with an incredible 24 points and 21 rebounds. Hinton added 17 points and 7 assists in the losing effort.