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White Shirts Win Fourth Consecutive Top Dawg Title
July 30, 2022
By Morgan Wenger
Tournament Director

The triple elimination bracket play format of the Top Dawg division ensures that every game will be intense. Sometimes, the early round games are as intense as the championship games as everyone tries to avoid the dreaded climb from the lower brackets back into the championship series. This year’s opening round games saw three nailbiters as teams did all they could to position themselves for the easiest path to the tournament title.

From Home Page ELE started off the tournament with a 30-28 win against Waynedale. The game went back and forth from start to finish. The game was a contrast in styles as Waynedale was torching the nets from the perimeter (eight made three pointers) while ELE was pounding the ball inside with Reid Black (nine points) and Jack Simmons (nine points). Dawson Troyer and Mathias Raber led the way for Waynedale with nine points each in defeat. The next game had Details facing off with Team Wreck. Marquise Jones was on a mission from the start of this game. His hot shooting got Team Wreck out to an early lead, and he was able to fend off Details down the stretch with his stellar play. Jones hit five triples on his way to an astounding 25-point performance with everyone on Details’ roster taking a shot at guarding him. Jalen Wenger led Details with 13 points in the 30-26 loss. The three-time defending champion White Shirts squad found themselves in a fierce battle right away as well. Wooville’s Devin Haid was attacking White Shirts’ defense with a variety of drives to the rim and pull up jumpers. The game was tied at 22 and each team failed to score on a couple of possessions in a row. A technical foul on Wooville gave White Shirts a golden opportunity to forge into the lead late in the game. The tournament veterans took full advantage and used the free points to vault themselves towards a 30-26 victory. Bryce Butler led the way for White Shirts with 14 points and received plenty of help from athletic big man Marcus Ernst. Haid pumped in 21 for Wooville in a losing cause. Under Dawgs Too seemed to be one of the tournament favorites before play began. They did nothing to dispel that sentiment in their opening round game against the Mustangs. Breaon Brady was unstoppable inside in this game. The lefty used his massive size and strength to get position and had too much skill on the block against the smaller Mustangs. Under Dawgs Too moved on to the next round by the tune of 30-17.

Wooville's Devin Haid works his way inside against White Shirts

Marquise Jones tried to put Team Wreck on his back in the semifinals against ELE, but he and his team ran out of steam by the end of the game. Reid Black and Cade Cook led ELE to a 30-23 win against Team Wreck to advance to the winner’s bracket finals. The other semifinal game was a matchup between tournament heavyweights Under Dawgs Too and White Shirts. Most observers thought this would be the first of several matchups between these two teams in the tournament. The intensity in this game was as anticipated. The score was close throughout the game. Joe Pope (15 points) and Braeon Brady (12 points) were nearly unguardable for Under Dawgs Too.  Pope was doing his damage from all over the court while Brady was dominating on the block and offensive glass. White Shirts had a more balanced attack, with Justin Miller (11 points), Bryce Butler (10 points), and Marcus Ernst (eight points) all playing big roles offensively. Marcus Ernst turned in the play of the day to swing momentum in his team’s favor late in the game. Ernst caught a missed shot off the rim and threw down a filthy two handed dunk in traffic to put White Shirts ahead late in the game. They finished off a tough 30-27 victory to advance to the winner’s bracket finals.

This left two teams in the winner’s bracket. The winner earns the enviable position of being in the championship series and being able to rest while the other brackets play themselves out. It was Justin Miller’s turn to go off for White Shirts in this game. Miller hit three shots from behind the arc and worked his way inside for several more baskets on his way to a 17 point outing. ELE was here to play though and fought the champions hard throughout the game. Cade Cook (11 points) and Reid Black (10 points) were a force throughout the game. Both teams had a chance to win the game late, but White Shirts made one more timely play than ELE did and pulled out a 31-29 nailbiter to advance to the championship series.

Braeon Brady battles for a loose ball in the paint

Jalen Wenger (18 points) and Kyrie Gaut (10 points) led Details to a 30-17 win against Waynedale to open up play in the loser’s bracket. Wooville got their first win by a similar score (30-19) against the Mustangs. Devin Haid poured in an impressive 25 points for Wooville to overcome a 17-point effort from the Mustangs’ Jonas Nichols.
Things got really interesting in the next round as Details and Wooville faced off with teams who had advanced one round further than they had in the winner’s bracket. Details and Under Dawgs Too hooked up in a hotly contested game that was a contrast in styles. Details was looking to attack primarily from the outside in with Jalen Wenger and Braylon Wenger, while Under Dawgs Too was largely playing from the inside out through Braeon Brady. All three players scored 16 points as the game went back and forth the entire way. Brady was dominant inside on the block while both Wengers hit four three pointers each for the bulk of their points. Nursing a 29-26 lead late in the game, Braylon Wenger knocked down a dagger three pointer to send his team to the next round. Wooville and Team Wreck was surely going to come down to the matchup between big scorers Devin Haid and Marquise Jones. Jones was at it again in this game for Team Wreck. He piled up 15 points and got an 11 point boost from teammate Jordan Ray, but it was not enough to overcome another monster effort from Devin Haid. Haid played with finesse, skill, and power on his way to a 24-point effort for Wooville. Calvin Blair added six points in support to lead Wooville to the 30-26 win.

Jonas Nichols gets ready to attack for the Mustangs

Wooville and Details hooked up for one of the best games of the day in the next round. With Jalen Wenger (18 points) and Devin Haid (18 points) almost sure to provide superstar scoring efforts for their teams, this game came down to the other players on each roster. Tyson Gibson gave Wooville the lead early on as he sandwiched two baskets inside around a three pointer. After attacking inside off the dribble for their first four baskets, Details turned to their three-point marksmanship for their next 21 points. Jalen Wenger knocked down four deep balls and Kyrie Gaut came off the bench to hit another three trifectas to give Details a 29-28 lead late in the game. After some empty possessions from both teams, Jalen Wenger drove into the paint and lofted up a floater that found the bottom of the net to put Details into the final game of the loser’s bracket against ELE.

ELE was one basket away from earning a spot in the championship series in the winner’s bracket final, but they still found themselves in a battle in their first game in the loser’s bracket. Specifically, they were under siege from a Jalen Wenger three-point barrage. Brimming with confidence after defeating Under Dawgs Too and Wooville, Jalen Wenger unleashed a 23-point barrage on ELE that included five three-point bombs. The last two of these shots turned a 25-24 deficit into a 30-25 victory. Reid Black scored 11 points for ELE in defeat.

Details' Jalen Wenger drives to the basket against Team Wreck's Jordan Ray

As the tournament wears on, fatigue and conditioning become much more of a factor as the workload on the teams playing the extra games increases. With each team’s main scoring threats often tiring, the games are often decided by the role players on each team. Marquise Jones showed that he had plenty of gas left in the tank for Team Wreck as they faced Waynedale in the first round of the elimination bracket. Jones scored from all three levels on his way to a 26-point outburst to overwhelm Waynedale 30-19. Braeon Brady found life on the block very favorable to him against the Mustangs as well. Brady muscled his way to 14 points and Joe Pope scored eight as Under Dawgs Too overcame another good effort from Jonas Nichols (nine points) and Jason Schumacher (eight points) to defeat the Mustangs 30-22. With Under Dawgs Too focused heavily on Marquise Jones, Jordan Ray stepped up and hit six three pointers for Team Wreck in the next round. Braeon Brady (14 points) and Joe Pope (11 points) were just too much though, and Under Dawgs Too advanced to the next round with a 30-23 triumph.

Under Dawgs Too were hitting their stride at this point, and that continued in the next round against Wooville. Braeon Brady (16 points) and Joe Pope (15 points) led the way again, and Under Dawgs Too recorded one of the most impressive wins of the day by the score of 30-16 over Wooville. As he had done all day long, Devin Haid scored 14 points to lead Wooville. Joe Pope was just warming up. Pope exploded for 21 points, including three deep balls, to eliminate ELE 30-21 and earn another crack at Details. Braeon Brady chipped in eight points for the winners, while Jack Simmons led the way for ELE with 10 points.

With Troy Burgan shadowing Jalen Wenger all over the court and Joe Pope continuing his incredibly efficient offensive play, Under Dawgs Too jumped out to an early lead against Details. With his team in an 8-2 hole, Jalen Wenger got it going quickly and matched Pope basket for basket as the game tightened up as it hit the 20 point mark. With the score deadlocked at 29, Red Morris missed an opportunity to win the game at the free throw line. Braylon Wenger took full advantage of the opportunity and made a three pointer to put his team into the championship round with a 30-29 victory. Jalen Wenger led the way for Details with five three pointers and 19 points, while Braylon Wenger made a big difference late with three trifectas as part of his 11 points. Joe Pope pumped in three deep balls himself as part of a 19 point effort in defeat.

Details jumped ahead of White Shirts early in Game 1 of the best of three championship series. They rode the hot shooting of Jalen and Braylon Wenger and tried to hold off the hard charging Marcus Ernst. Ernst (14 points) was having his way inside, but Details’ early lead was too much to overcome. Jalen Wenger (20 points) and Braylon Wenger (10 points) combined for six three pointers, with the last one leaving Braylon Wenger’s hands and clinching a 30-23 win and 1-0 lead in the championship series.

With their backs against the wall, White Shirts turned up the intensity in Game 2. Ernst continued his attack of the rim but started getting some help from the outside from Justin Miller. The biggest difference, however, was on the other side of the ball. With the intensity turned up a notch, Details was suddenly unable to score, and White Shirts pulled away with a 30-15 win. Ernst led the way for White Shirts with 14 points while Miller contributed nine points. Braylon Wenger led Details with seven points in defeat.

Justin Miller fires a jump shot for White Shirts

There have been some memorable Game 3 battles in this tournament over the years. Two teams being one game away from the top prize usually means a nip and tuck game from start to finish. White Shirts had no interest in being a part of anything like that this year though. They started to separate themselves from Details around the 10 point mark and never looked back. Justin Miller was the story in this game. Miller blistered Details from all over the court on his way to an 18-point effort. Bryce Butler (eight points) and Miller combined for six three pointers as they overwhelmed Details 30-15 to claim the grand prize for the fourth consecutive year. Jalen Wenger went down swinging for Details, scoring 10 points in a losing cause. Marcus Ernst was the MVP of Dawg Days Basketball 2022.

White Shirts (JoVohn Morrow, Justin Miller, MVP Marcus Ernst, and Bryce Butler)

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