June 29, 2017
By Morgan Wenger
Although their dominance of the league may have diminished from a few years ago, Taggart Law Firm remains on top of the Dawg Days Summer League after Hiland Alumni's Noah Boyd had his potential game winning three point attempt rim out as time expired in the championship game. Taggart Law Firm has now won all eight of the league titles since the league's inception in 2010
Retired Not Expired survived an incredible three point bomb from Massillon's Kaylee Pierce that sent their championship game into overtime. Hannah Plybon scored 5 of her team high 12 points in the last minute of the overtime period to help Retired Not Expired avenge their title game loss to Tuslaw last year.
On the men's side of the action, Hiland Alumni looked invincible as they stormed out of the gates to take a 13 point first half lead against Taggart Law Firm. Hiland's precise ball movement and pinpoint shooting were on full display throughout the first half. With his team just trying to make a run to stay in the game, Taggart Law Firm's Steve Griffin made three huge three point shots to keep the score respectable going into halftime. Taggart Law Firm trailed by only seven at the break despite not being able to handle Hiland's Neil Gingerich (13 first half points) inside, and having their own leading scorer, Daniel Zacour, limited to just four first half points.
The second half saw Taggart Law Firm start to exert their trademark defensive will on the game as they evened the score less than five minutes into the second half. The game went back and forth for several minutes before the seven time defending champions seemingly took control with around 3 minutes remaining. However, poor free throw shooting by the champions and some huge plays by Hiland's Seger Bonifant set up the game's frantic finish. Bonifant's biggest play, an old fashioned three point play with just under a minute left, cut Taggart Law Firm's lead to just a single point. After going for the steal for 10-15 seconds, Hiland seemingly made an error by fouling the sharpshooting Daniel Zacour with his team in the bonus. Inexplicably, Daniel Zacour missed both free throws to open the door for Hiland to steal their first summer league title. Hiland decided to play for one shot to win it all, and the game's final sequence came down to Bonifant trying to free himself against the pesky defense of Paul Zacour. As Bonifant spun into the middle of the lane, he felt the help defense of Daniel Zacour and kicked the ball out to Noah Boyd on the left wing. Boyd pump faked to free himself from a lunging Daniel Zacour, and got off a clean look at a three pointer to win the game. The shot rimmed out and Stephen Zacour secured the rebound as time expired to clinch the title for Taggart Law Firm. Gingerich finished with a game high 18 points for Hiland.
The girl's championship game had a different look from the men's game, as both Retired Not Expired and Massillon struggled to score in the first half. The younger Tigers started to pull away from their 18-17 halftime lead early in the second half though. After being limited to five points in the first half, Massillon's Kaylee Pierce caught fire in the second half. Pierce's hot shooting, along with timely baskets from Tamia Ridley and Makayla Pierce, helped Massillon build a seven point lead midway through the second half. Retired Not Expired appeared to be tiring, but levied a comeback behind some key baskets from Maggie Davault and two huge three pointers from Beth Campana. Retired Not Expired got the lead with just over two minutes remaining, and effectively played keep away from the younger Tigers for much of the remaining regulation period. Massillon got the ball back with a final chance to tie it with under 20 seconds left. Kaylee Pierce ran off a double screen on the left wing and drained a dramatic 28 footer with Hannah Plybon in hot pursuit as time expired to force the overtime period.
Kaylee Pierce struck first in the overtime period, draining another triple to forge Massillon into the lead. With the lead down to one point and just under a minute left, Hannah Plybon hit a step back three pointer to give her team a two point lead. After a Massillon miss and foul, Plybon eliminated any potential Kaylee Pierce heroics by making both of her free throws with under 10 seconds left to secure the win for Retired Not Expired. Kaylee Pierce finished with a game high 22 points for Massillon.
Please visit the Summer League page for box scores, scoring leaders, and standings from this year's league.
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