It started with hearty hug and handshake between twin brothers during pregame warm-ups. Before the starting lineups were announced, Paula Dozier — who made a surprise visit from Baltimore on Monday — was presented flowers on the court as she stood proudly between her two sons.
But once things tipped off between Perry Dozier’s highly ranked Spring Valley squad and Terry Dozier’s upstart Westwood team, it was business as usual as the former South Carolina standouts faced off against each in a high school basketball game for the first time.
The Vikings, ranked fifth in the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association poll, got the better of it in a 61-38 victory against the RedHawks on Tuesday night in boys basketball.
Round One of the Dozier Duel goes to Perry, who is four minutes younger but is the more experienced high school coach — he is starting his seventh season at Spring Valley.
It wasn’t the first time the siblings faced off against one another — they have battled on the summer coaching circuit — but finally doing it on the high school stage made it extra special.
“We’ve done it during the summertime in the 5-Star basketball camps,” Perry said. “Normally, he wins but this is high school and I’ve been doing it much longer than he has. It was fun. Terry is going to be an awesome coach. When he gets the talent and organization together, he’s going to be OK.”
Terry was as disappointed in the way his team played as he was in losing to his brother in the first battle.
“It was a tough one,” Terry said. “It’s not just losing to him but he beat me pretty bad. He said he was going to do it but I didn’t think he would be able to fulfill that prophecy. Let me put this mildly but we were intimidated. I have never seen my team play that way. There was a lot of hype on the game and everybody knew how big it was but I looked in their eyes and there was intimidation there.”
The two brothers starred at Dunbar High in Baltimore before playing at South Carolina from 1985-89. Terry went on to have a 12-year professional career with most of that time spent overseas. Perry battled injuries and went into the business world before becoming entrenched at Spring Valley as a coach. Terry was named the coach at Westwood, a school playing it’s first season of basketball, earlier this year and he has taken a crash course in what has to be accomplished.
“The biggest problem he has to worry about is the administrative part of it,” Perry said of his older brother. “The coaching will come easy but he has to learn how to cross the Ts and dot the Is. I think everything comes natural for him. He loves to motivate kids, he’s a professional speaker and all that comes hand-to-hand.”
It didn’t take long for the Vikings (3-0) to show their supremecy as they used a 16-2 run in the first quarter to take command. Dominique Taylor was the driving force with 12 points during the run. Three of his baskets were crowd-pleasing dunks off of miscues by Westwood (1-2).
The RedHawks turned it over 17 times in the first half but managed to stay within striking distance until Taylor scored on a tip-in and Perry Dozier Jr. added four points in the final minute of the half to extend the lead to 27-12.
Taylor led the Spring Valley attack with 22 points and Dozier, Jr. added 15.
The Vikings could have built a larger lead but they were sloppy as well, finishing the half with 19 turnovers. Perry Dozier was not pleased with his team’s effort but did give praise to the Westwood defense.
“Terry’s style of defense makes teams play bad,” Perry said. “A lot of it is good defense but there’s a lot we need to work on to get better.”
Things continued going Spring Valley’s way in the second half as the Vikings opened a 20-point lead early in the third quarter.
The rematch is Tuesday at Spring Valley, and Terry hopes to find redemption.
“I’m going to watch film all tonight, all day tomorrow to see what I can come up with to return him the favor,” he said. “He’s got bragging rights in the family right now. I have to get Mom to pull for me next time. She was pulling for PJ (Perry Dozier Jr.). She said whoever had her grandson, she was pulling for.”
SV – Dominique Taylor 22, Perry Dozier Jr. 15, Taburn 6, Adams 3, Johnson 3, Legette 3, Mickel 2, Thomas 2, Miller 2, Zimmerman 2, Whitmore 1. W – Marcellus Garrick 10, Alewine 6, Grant 4, Harris 4, Finch 3, Roberson 3, Vaugh 3, Stokes 2, Lee 2, Cooke 1.