Branden Dawson Leads Wallace to State Tourney

Branden Dawson, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound junior from Gary (IN) Lew Wallace who has received recruiting interest from Minnesota, has led his team to the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament Saturday. Dawson is one of the Midwest's top players in the Class of 2011. Dawson shined at last spring's Sabes Invitational and has attracted the attention of many top programs, including Minnesota.

Gary Wallace, which finished 19-4, will face Washington (22-3) in the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Gary Wallace was ranked fifth in the final AP Class AAA poll. They are making its first ever appearance in boys basketball state finals. won its first semi-state championship last Saturday with its 57-47 win over No. 9 Fort Wayne Elmhurst. Junior Branden Dawson led the Hornets with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Gary Wallace's record is a bit misleading as all four of team's losses have come to out-of-state opponents. They lost to Chicago Carver, Milwaukee Vincent, Detroit Country Day and Romulus.

Dawson shined this season as he averaged 24.0 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, while shooting 65% from the field and 61% from the line.

They face a tough opponent in Washington, who is playing for its third 3A state championship in six years (2005, 2008). The Hatchets are seeking its sixth boys basketball state championship and are one of only three schools in state history with five or more (Muncie Central 8, Marion 7).

Washington is 5-0 in state championship games and beat #1 Danville, 57-38, in Saturday's semi-state matchup holding the Warriors to 22 percent (11-for-50) shooting for the game. They are led by junior Cody Zeller, Washington's 6-10 center, He is averaging 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. His older brothers, Luke (2005) and Tyler (2008) were both named Indiana Mr. Basketball.

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