Dale caps perfect season, second straight state title
The Dale boys basketball team didn't necessarily have its best game of the season Saturday.
The Pirates started slow against Oklahoma Christian Academy and even trailed by one at the end of the first quarter.
But if a team has a player like Dayton Forsythe leading the way, things can quickly turn around.
That's exactly what happened for Dale in the Class 2A state title game.
Forsythe and the Pirates regrouped after their early struggles, took control of the game and went on to roll.
Dale defeated Oklahoma Christian Academy 78-52 at State Fair Arena, claiming its second straight championship and finishing with a 32-0 record.
Forsythe was outstanding and had 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The 6-foot-2 junior guard made 10 of 15 shots from the field and was 8 of 10 from the free throw line.
Forsythe helped Dale win its first-ever boys basketball title last year and knows what it feels like to become a champion but isn't taking anything for granted.
“If anything, it's even sweeter,” he said. “My brother (freshman Denton Forsythe) is out there with me. You can't top that. We've grown up dreaming about that.”
Trayden Chambers also had a solid performance for Dale as he finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. He made the most of his field-goal attempts, hitting 6 of 7.
In fact, the whole team was efficient. The Pirates made 51.7% of their shots and had just six turnovers.
Dale trailed 12-11 at the end of the first quarter before taking control and dominating. The Pirates led 35-24 at halftime and cruised after that.
“We had to figure out how to attack their zone,” Forsythe said. “That was a weird zone. You don't see those too often. We had to figure out different ways to attack it. We regrouped at halftime. We had a slow start, and we just came out and we did what we do.”
Forsythe has stood out since his freshman year at Dale.
By now, colleges around the country have taken notice, and he holds offers from Cal, OU, Oklahoma State and Wake Forest, among others.
“He's the best player in the state,” Dale coach Jeff Edmonson said. “If I got the first pick and I'm getting to pick somebody, I'm picking Dayton Forsythe every time.”
Edmonson knew he had a special group this year, but Dale has a chance to be even better next season.
The Pirates' starting lineup includes two juniors and three sophomores.
Edmonson was proud of the whole team Saturday.
“Every practice all the way up until last week, we went in and we just kept working hard. … This is just such a special group,” Edmonson said. “The teamwork, the unselfishness and their work ethic is just better than anybody in the state.”
OCA took the loss but had a great season. The Eagles went 23-9 and were on a six-game win streak heading into Saturday.
Carter Owens and Carson Thomas each had 15 points in the title game.