Damyean Dotson scored 26 points and high-flying, dunking Yates built a big early lead and cruised to an 87-67 win over Denton Ryan on Thursday night in the class 4A state semifinals. Ranked No. 1 in 4A, Yates (33-5) is pursuing its third state championship in four years before dropping down to 3A next season.
Yates made 10 3-pointers and had a series of rim-rattling dunks in the second half when the game was well in hand. Clyde Santee scored 18 and J.C.Washington had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Yates.
Marcus Holcomb scored 21 for Denton Ryan (23-12), which was unranked when the playoffs started. Denton Ryan finished third in its district before their playoff run to the state tournament.
Yates' win sets up a rematch of their 2009 state final against Dallas Kimball. Yates won that game 94-78.
Yates wasted little time cranking up the offense that scored at least 113 points three times in a playoff run to the state tournament. Yates didn't come close that mark against Denton Ryan but made sure the game was all but out of reach by early in the second half.
Dotson, who has signed with Oregon, scored 14 in the first half and Santee had 15 as Yates opened up a 46-25 lead by halftime. Denton Ryan tried to keep up with Yates' lightning-quick transition game, but the Raiders just weren't good enough or fast enough.
The teams combined for a whopping 65 shots in the first half and committed just six turnovers each despite the fast pace of play.
Yates made seven 3-pointers in the first half. Santee opened the game with one and Dotson made three in the first quarter as Yates built a 26-15 lead after one. Desperate to keep up, Denton Ryan launched wild shots. The Raiders shot just 23 percent in the half as they fell further behind.
Yates cooled considerably when the 3-pointers started bouncing out in the third. Denton Ryan opened the quarter with an 11-0 run capped by a 3-pointer by Trey Mohair that cuts Yates' lead to 46-36. Yates woke up its full-court press to regain control and scored 21 points off 17 Denton Ryan turnovers.
Three consecutive Denton Ryan turnovers and a dunk by Washington -- the first of four in the half by Yates -- highlighted a 6-0 run that pushed Yates' lead back to 17 and firmly in control midway through the third.