KETTERING – Lima Central Catholic forward Dantez Walton needs to be on the logo of the Flying to the Hoop Tournament.
The 6-foot-4 junior Walton soared around the floor at Trent Arena with a career-high 30 points and 11 rebounds in powering LCC to a 58-50 boys basketball victory over Kettering Alter Monday at Kettering Fairmont.
The LCC vs. Alter game was the 20th of 23 games at the tournament, which went from Friday to Monday at the 4,400-seat Trent Arena.
“It reminded me of the state tournament,” Walton said. “There was a lot of energy flowing through our bodies and that’s what I like.”
It was the first meeting between the schools since 1990. It also marked career-win No. 100 for LCC coach Frank Kill.
LCC, which lost its first game of the year at Versailles on Saturday, is 11-1. It was LCC’s third game in four days. Alter is 7-6.
Walton said he wasn’t tired on Monday.
“We had a lot energy and we had to get our payback after that loss we had and we did it,” Walton said.
In front of a plethora of college scouts, Walton hit 9 of 12 from the field and was 3 of 3 on 3-pointers, as he continually flew through the lane and to the rim.
Added Kill, “I told him (Walton) after our last game, ‘You have to be the energy guy and gosh, was he great tonight on offense? That can happen every night because of his inside-out game. He just energizes us.”
LCC led 23-19 at the half, but went from its 3-2 zone to a man-to-man to start the third quarter. That helped the T-Birds rip off an 11-0 burst to take a 34-19 lead. In that span, Walton hit a 3-pointer and three foul shots.
“We had to go back to our foundation of what makes us who we are, and that’s our man defense,” Kill said. “I thought we were kind of tired and to save some fouls, we went to a zone (late in the first quarter). It worked at times, but I knew in order for our offense to get going, we were going to have to come out and play some man.”
Alter cut the margin to 38-34 just into the fourth quarter. And for the final quarter, Alter switched from its 2-3 to a man defense.
Alter got as close as 38-34 with 7:33 to go.
LCC answered with a Tre Cobbs driving scoop shot, a Walton layup, two Dixon foul shots and a Cobbs’ 15-footer.
That put LCC up 46-34 with 5:17 to go. Alter wasn’t able to make a final run at the end.
Alter coach Eric Coulter said his team prefers the 2-3 zone. But whether it was a zone or man, Alter had no answer for Walton.
“Dantez is a great player,” Coulter said. “He played with a lot of energy tonight.”
LCC point guard Josh Dixon and Cobbs both had nine points. Chris Finke led Alter with 16 points and three 3-pointers.
“We came back really well today (after the loss) and got the ball inside to Dantez so he could get the offense going,” Dixon said. “He played terrific tonight.”
Alter won the boards, 29-26. LCC shot 50 percent from the field, while Alter hit 34 percent.
“I thought our guys played as well as we could for 32 minutes,” Kill said. “We really did a lot of good things. … For our guys to come in here and play as well as we did, it was a great experience.”
Coulter said he would have no problem with resuming the matchup with LCC.
“If they were a little farther south, they’d be in the GCL (the Greater Catholic League with Alter),” Coulter said. “That’s how they are. They are a typical GCL team, they are well-coached and play hard on defense.
“I think it would be a good matchup and Ohio basketball fans would love to see that matchup. … At Alter we have a lot of tradition. They have a lot of tradition. It’s a mirror image of each program.”