An atypical week did little to throw Harrison sophomore Donta Dawson off his game in Tuesday’s Class 4A Colorado Springs Metro League contest against The Classical Academy in the Panthers’ Thorpe Gymnasium.
Despite not having the time to get his usual amount of shots up in the days prior, the 6-foot-3 forward finished with a team-high 17 points in Harrison’s 55-53 win. He showed no rust, either, making a trio of 3-pointers and all four of his fourth-quarter free throws.
“How he’s able to consistently be a student, be a brother, be a family member, be a basketball player, considering that every day there’s something,” answered Harrison coach Eric Kaiser when asked what makes Dawson special.
“For him to consistently be a great kid, great person and a great basketball player to his teammates … resilience.”
Dawson hit a couple of early jumpers to give Harrison a a 7-4 lead in the opening minutes, but the Titans scored the next nine, capped by a Jackson Tanton 3-pointer, to lead by six midway through the opening quarter.
It was a one-possession game most of the rest of the way.
The fourth quarter started with TCA in front 38-35, and Kade Walker’s free throws made it 43-38 Titans with 5:49 to play.
Dawson then hit his first two free throws to start a 7-0 Harrison run that was capped by an Aumiere Shedrick layup, giving Harrison a two-point lead with 3:15 left. Tayzhean Archuleta would later hit a couple free throws to make it 51-45, matching the game’s biggest lead, with 1:16 to play.
TCA got a quick 3-pointer from Kobe Katayama to again make it a one-possession game before Dawson was fouled and sent to the line.
Harrison’s leading scorer knocked down both, allowing the Panthers to hold on for a win that keeps them unbeaten in the league alongside Sierra.
“I think it was mostly our heart, you know. Every last player on this team has crazy heart. I’m very proud that I could play with these guys,” Dawson said.
“All of them play their hearts out every last minute and every last game. I think that’s really what drove us to win the game.”
Before the 3-pointers and a Kade Walker layup that gave him a game-high 19 points in the final minute, TCA hit just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
“Our strategy was to do the best we could to make them dribblers as opposed to shooting because we know when they set their feet and shoot, they can shoot it,” Kaiser said.
Micah Lamberth joined Walker in double figures for TCA, finishing with 15 points.
Orlando Westbrook-Sanchez and Archuleta added nine and eight, respectively, for Harrison. That supplemented Dawson, who came into the game worried about a potential off night.
“Nah, I was kinda scared,” Dawson admitted. “I didn’t get (many) shots up all week like I usually do, but I’m just glad I was able to hit tonight.”