Dorsey 74, Crenshaw 63

It appears that Dorsey basketball is back in the building.

A 21-7 record that left them one game shy of the city championship in 2006-2007 was followed by a dismal 10-15 season last year. But now, the Donns are off to a 3-1 start (maybe more if they’d post their results from a tourney last week on, including a “take no prisoners” win over Crenshaw last night.

If Stevie Wonder had come to the game, he would have had no problem figuring out what was going on, as the “THUMP!” of a Crenshaw body hitting the floor was heard almost as much as the catcalls from the Dorsey JV team sitting in the stands. I hadn’t seen that many kids on the floor since third period, when I had my PE class perform sit-ups.

The first couple times it happened, a Dorsey player tripped a Crenshaw Cougar, sending her careening toward the ground. But in general, Crenshaw players seemed to have a hard time staying on their feet. They would simply slip, fall to the floor chasing a loose ball, or lose their balance after contact with an athletic Donn player – which was seemingly every player they had.

The result was a convincing 74-63 Dorsey win, which puts them at the top of the Coliseum League with View Park Prep (4-1). I predict those two will fight mightily for the league title this year.

Dorsey began the game strong, despite a turnover-fest on the part of both teams. Crenshaw didn’t score a bucket until the 6:10 mark in the first quarter. Then both teams started with the dueling steals, multiple bad passes and bad shots a piece. This isn’t uncommon at the start of high school games, to have both teams playing sloppily. The score was still 14-4 Dorsey with 2:33 to go.

The second quarter began with four girls from both teams diving for the ball and wrestling for possession; I’m glad no one knocked heads. It was Dorsey up 23-13 for a few minutes, and then Crenshaw went on a little run. They hit a three, then made another bucket on the next possession. They had cut Dorsey’s lead to two, 25-23, before the Donns made their own run, including a full-court pass play. The Cougars were only able to make three more baskets during the period, while the Donns reeled off seven more buckets to end the half up 39-29.

The third quarter was the best for both teams. Crenshaw came out on fire, cutting Dorsey’s lead to 41-37 at the 5:32 mark. Dorsey responded with three straight shots, and the dueling steal-fest began again. As I had felt at the game I was at a few hours before, I thought both teams would have done well to slow down.

The Donns kept their lead by eight until two minutes to go, when the Cougars went on another run. A shot, some free throws, some hustlin, repeat. Dorsey lead 56-52 at the end of the third. Both teams scored almost as much in the third has they had in all the first half.

In the last quarter, Dorsey turned it on and never looked back. Their marquee play came on a full court-length pass for a layup which wowed even the Crenshaw fans I was sitting next to. It was 66-53 at the 4:40 mark. The Cougars got one little bit of last momentum at 2:38, when they’d cut Dorsey’s lead to 70-60. But the Donns hit two more baskets, and the possibility of a comeback went out the window.

I really liked Crenshaw’s never-say-die fighting spirit. They never gave up, and played all the way until the final buzzer. They need to work on their free throw shots, but they have a lot of potential that I hope their coach can bring out of them.

Dorsey players who were impressive were sophomore guard Yolanda Kennard, sophomore guard Kyndal Charleston, and freshman guard/forward Destiny King. Kennard is a hustler, and really moves the ball and makes things happen. Charleston has a sweet outside shot that almost always falls. And King is a good three-shooter.

The Donns have only 10 girls on their roster this year, but I guess that isn’t unusual for them. Last year they had 14, including five seniors, and the year before that -the almost-city championship year – only seven were on the roster. This year’s squad includes only one senior and two juniors. The rest are freshmen (4) and sophomores (3).

If Dorsey needed some fresh blood to jump-start their program, so far it looks like they’re succeeding. I must make sure to catch them again when they play View Park Prep.

Non-play highlight: Dorsey JV players chanting to free throw shooters from their varsity team, “make it, homegirl!”