Dexter opened its 2004-05 season with a 71-67 victory over Charleston, which had two games under its belt, on Tuesday night.
Scoring balance and a sizable advantage in turnovers keyed the Dexter win in a very physical ballgame between two of last season's Final Four teams. Charleston (1-2) captured third in state in Class 3 while Dexter (1-0) finished fourth in Class 4 in 2004.
"Turnovers and, I think, Dexter wanted the game more," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "They played hard the whole game with a lot of intensity. What our young kids have to realize is that when you're Charleston, everybody is going to play you tough and you've got to respond to the challenge, night in and night out."
The Bearcats received double-figure scoring from a quartet of seniors including point guard Scott Admire (17), shooting guard Derek Roberts (16), post player Anthony Elfrink (13) and forward Chris Guethle (10). Senior guard Levi Rawson added seven and Eric Rinehart six.
The 6-foot-5 Guethle and 6-5 Elfrink also rebounded in double digits with 12 and 10, respectively.
"We learned from last year," said Dexter coach Eric Sitze, of his team's strong defensive and rebounding efforts. "That was a great experience for us, playing some physical teams like DeSoto and Vashon down the stretch.
"Anthony Elfrink did a great job. He stepped up, played great defense, got in the passing lanes, stole a lot of passes and scored for us tonight."
On the other end, Charleston's young Bluejays, with three sophomore starters, showed impatience and lack of maturity, forcing ill-advised passes and showing emotional frustration at times. The Jays were whistled for two technicals and a flagrant foul ejection. Dexter held a decided edge at the free-throw line going 18-for-25, while Charleston went 5-for-11.
"Dexter plays very aggressive and we got frustrated when our guys got bumped around a little bit and think they're not being treated justly," said Farmer, "but that's part of the game and they're going to have to get accustomed to that.
In a nip-and-tuck first half in which the two teams were never separated by more than four points, Dexter held a 36-34 edge at the half.
Charleston gained a 53-52 advantage as the third period expired. Trailing 56-52, Dexter, aided by poor Bluejay passing, went on a 14-6 run to retake the lead at 66-62.
"We didn't make the smart pass," said Farmer. "When we should have lobbed it, we tried to throw it straight and we made the same mistakes over and over again."
The Bluejays saw their last lead at 67-66 off a runner in the lane by reserve guard Myron Pettigrew followed by Justin Clark's 3-pointer. Clark had five treys on the evening.
Two Elfrink free throws and three straight from the charity stripe by Admire shut the door on the Bluejays.
Charleston had its leading scorer, 6-6 senior Ashton Farmer, in the lineup for the first time this season. Farmer, recovering from a recent bout of mononucleosis, led the Bluejays with 26 points, 16 in the second half.
Sophomores Clark and Shawn Sherrell added 21 and 11, respectively.
Dexter completed the homecourt sweep with a 56-29 win over Charleston in the junior varsity game.
Drew Satterfield paced the Bearcats with 18 points and Joseph Watts topped the Bluejays with 16.