A sellout crowd of over 16,000 was on hand at U.S. Bank Arena. In the feature game, North College Hill, Ohio's No. 1-ranked team in Division III and No. 2 nationally, lost to the nation's top-ranked team Oak Hill (Va.) Academy 88-74.
Dunbar, ranked fourth in Ohio in Division II, held Taft to 29 percent shooting in the rematch of the Division II regional final from last year.
"Defense and rebounding won the game today," said Dunbar guard Daequan Cook. "Our big men stepped up and we played well as a team."
Cook led Dunbar with 19 points and eight rebounds earning game MVP honors.
"Taft is a great ball club and hopefully we will see them in the tournament," Cook said.
Taft got on the board first but had only nine points in the first quarter and 16 in the opening half.
"We made some mistakes but we did a better job on the penetration," said Dunbar head coach Peter Pullen. "I think we are finally starting to buy into the defense going into the tournament."
Dunbar center Aaron Pogue complimented Cook's performance with nine points and 16 rebounds.
"We contained Heath White good and just played team ball," said Pogue. "Defense wins games and offense sells the tickets. My shots weren't falling so I had to get the offensive and defensive rebounds and I did."
Taft's Heath White was held to just nine points. Guard Monsanne Torbert led the Senators with 13.
While Cook put on a great performance, he didn't put on the show that fans were hoping for.
"We saw a little of Daequan today, but we didn't see the full package," said Pullen. "But the win was great and that is what we were here for."
Dunbar has won the last three meetings with Taft and Pullen is confident in Dunbar should the two teams meet again in the postseason.
"We had a couple things in our favor today," he explained. "We handle the big stage well and we beat Taft three times on the big stage. If we see them again in the tournament this year, it will be on the big stage again."
Following last season's state semifinal loss to Upper Sandusky, Cook and Dunbar are not looking past any team as they approach the tournament.
"We set the tone today and momentum and control," he said. "We are not taking any teams for granted and we are playing 110 percent every game."
Torbert was named game MVP for the Taft squad.
Dunbar and Cook open Division II district tournament play Friday vs. Oxford Talawanda at Springboro High School at 8 p.m.