Brion Dunlap is batting a perfect two-for-two since taking over the men’s basketball program at Harris-Stowe State University last year.
In 2017, Dunlap guided the Hornets to a surprise championship of the American Midwest Conference championship and the school’s first-ever berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Tournament. The Hornets entered the conference tournament as the No. 6 seed and proceeded to win three road games en route to their historic championship.
As good as last year’s championship run was for the Hornets, the follow-up this season was even better. Harris-Stowe punched its ticket to the NAIA National Tournament for the second consecutive year on Monday night, with an impressive 95-71 victory over Williams Baptist in the AMC championship game at Harris-Stowe.
A loud and enthusiastic crowd showed up at the Emerson Performance Center on Harris-Stowe’s campus to celebrate the school’s continued emergence as a small-college power in the Midwest region.
There was less suspense this season as the Hornets accomplished a 20-victory season and entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed after winning 12 conference games and finishing in a tie for second in the regular season.
After Williams Baptist jumped to an early 11-4 lead in the championship game, Harris-Stowe dominated the rest of the game and cruised to the lopsided victory. The Hornets defense was relentless as they went on a 16-3 run to take control of the game. An emphatic two-handed follow slam dunk by senior forward Dwane Miner gave the Hornets a 20-14 lead and they were off and running from that point. The Hornets raced to a 50-28 lead at halftime and were never seriously threatened.
The Hornets play a very exciting brand of basketball. They are very athletic and they love to run and shoot 3-pointers. Best of all, the Hornets love to share the ball with each other, which lends to many players eating at the basketball trough.
All of the Hornets’ offensive weapons were on display on Monday night as six players scored in double figures. Junior guard Deandre Clark scored a game-high 20 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds. Guard Christian Wembley (Webster Groves) scored 19 points while making nine of 10 shots from the field. Guard Nate Rigmaiden (North Tech) scored 12 points off the bench while forwards Miner, Altez Davis and Samuel Egedi scored 10 points each.
With the victory, Harris-Stowe will take a 23-10 record to the NAIA National Tournament, which begins in Kansas City next week.