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Dayton Maintains Two-Title Tradition Bulldogs Add State Basketball Crown To Last Fall’s Football Championship

There was quite a hubbub when Almira/ Coulee-Hartline won the boys State B basketball tournament in 1991.

The Warriors of ‘91 became the first Class B team to win state titles in football and basketball.

ACH seems to have started a trend.

Of the four state basketball champions since the Warriors’ glory year, two have also won state football titles.

Dayton joined that group Saturday with a 68-46 win over Toutle Lake, the same team the Bulldogs (28-1) defeated in last December’s Kingbowl B-11 football final.

Tekoa-Oakesdale won the State B-8 football title in ‘93, then followed up with the basketball championship.

Sunnyside Christian (‘92) and Northwest Christian (‘94) won the other basketball titles during this period. Neither school has a football team.

Based on the talent coming back, Pateros would have to be an early favorite for next year’s basketball tournament. The Billygoats finished seventh and will return four of their top five scorers.

Pateros is also a football power, having advanced to December’s B-8 championship game against ultimate winner Touchet.

So what’s going on?

Well, perhaps nothing. Maybe this streak is a wild coincidence that will pass.

It’s possible that a solid corps of athletes came together at the same time in ACH, T-O and Dayton, and this won’t happen again for another decade. Maybe the nature of football and basketball has changed.

Football coaches could be looking for speedier athletes - more in the basketball mode - than the bruising brutes of old. By the same token, basketball coaches may have set their sights on more physical players. Kids who have lifted weights during the autumn can wear down anyone trying to score inside.

Dayton was an example of both theories. The Bulldogs had the combination of size and quickness to push people around inside, then grab a loose ball and streak down the court.

Toutle Lake, especially with an ankle injury to speedy guard Kevin Grabenhorst, wasn’t equal to Dayton either way.

“We just played the same way we usually play,” said Dayton guard Ryan Rundell. “We play aggressive, hard defense and we don’t back down from anyone.

“We feel that we’re quicker than anyone we play, so we try to use our quickness to our advantage.”

Rundell and fellow senior guard Matt Talbott were more role players in basketball than they were in football - when Rundell was the top receiver and Talbott the quarterback.

Dayton’s best basketball player, Will Hutchens, didn’t play football, to the relief of other teams. With his size (6-foot-3), speed and agility, Hutchens would have been a premier receiver.

But Hutchens threw everything into basketball, in hopes of playing Division I ball. Given his 10 consecutive points during a 14-0 Bulldogs streak in the third quarter, any bigtime coach in attendance might take a chance.

“This is what we’ve been looking forward to all season,” Hutchens said. “This is great.”