A bitter Baltimore rivalry is what Perry Dozier believes kept him from having a chance to play in the Beach Ball Classic, but nothing could stop him from making a home in the Palmetto State.
Dozier and his twin brother, Terry, were standouts at Dunbar, a team that has made three appearances in the event, but the field in 1984 included another Baltimore-area stalwart and Beach Ball staple in DeMatha Catholic.
“They didn’t invite us because DeMatha at that time was ‘the No. 1 team.’ We wound up being No. 1 in the country that year, but they didn’t want to play us [in Myrtle Beach],” Dozier said. “It was the strangest thing. I never understood it, so we didn’t get to come because of that.”
DeMatha would go on to win the tournament that year and the next, and has won a total of four Beach Ball titles. Dunbar finally entered the field in 1991, when it won the championship.
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The Dozier brothers ended playing at South Carolina anyway.
Terry’s name litters the Gamecocks record books and he helped lead the team to the NCAA Tournament in 1989, ending a 15-year drought for the program.
Perry’s career was cut short by a knee injury, and he did not play his senior year.
“My knee was blown out. As a matter of fact, I never played ball after that,” he said. “ I had surgery done twice, and never recovered.”
Both brothers have settled in the Columbia area. Perry is in his seventh season as coach at Spring Valley, and Terry just began his first stint as a head coach at newly opened Westwood High.
“I love it. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. The fans are great. South Carolina is just a beautiful place to live,” Perry said.
Perry has also given something back to his alma mater, his daughter Asia, a freshman on South Carolina’s women’s basketball team, where she is teammates with former Myrtle Beach standout Khadijah Sessions.
Perry said South Carolina has also extended an offer to his son, Perry Jr., a 6-5 sophomore at Spring Valley, which is participating in the Beach Ball. Perry Jr. has 33 points in his team’s first two games.
To the possible chagrin of some passengers on a U.S. Airways flight to Myrtle Beach from Charlotte on Wednesday night, the Franklin (Ohio) team made it to Myrtle Beach nearly on schedule and in time to play in the Beach Ball Classic.
It was touch and go for awhile.
The team was caught in a blizzard in Covington, Ohio, outside Cincinnati. It was scheduled to leave at 8 p.m. Wednesday night and had to leave for the airport five hours in advance to account for 8 inches of snow.
Austin Doliboa’s parents got into an accident without injury en route to the airport, so a coach had to turn around on I75 and pick the player up on the side of the road. The team was late getting to the airport, but the flight was delayed 90 minutes.
The team was going to be late for its connection in Charlotte, and U.S. Air officials told coach Brian Bales there would be no other flights available to Myrtle Beach until Jan. 1. Bales, who flew separate from the team after visiting his family in Oklahoma, drove to Myrtle Beach International Airport at 11 p.m. and begged a U.S. Air supervisor to hold the plane for up to an hour for his combined 20 players and coaches.
The team arrived 30 minutes late for its connection and got to Myrtle Beach around 1 a.m. “I bet those people waiting on that plane in Charlotte weren’t too happy,” Bales said. “But we are very thankful to U.S. Airways that they held that flight for us or I’m not sure we would have been here tonight.”
Bales and his tournament-appointed team ambassador considered driving to Charlotte in the early morning hours to pick up the team, but it wasn’t necessary. “By the grace of God we didn’t have to,” said Bales, whose team dropped its opening game that tipped off at 7 p.m. Thursday against Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 69-55.
“When it snows it snows,” Bales quipped.
On the chin
St. James will be without senior guard Caleb Duggan for the remainder of the Beach Ball Classic.
Duggan, a four-year starter, received a dozen stitches in his chin after a hard fall in the second half of Wednesday’s loss to Bishop O’Connell (Va.).
Sharks coach Monty Carr said Duggan did not have a concussion or any other injury, but has been advised to sit out for five days as a precaution.
“It’s always tough without a returning four-year starter with his experience and ability, but it gave a lot of other players a change to get involved, get some experience and get them ready for region play,” Carr said.
“People go to jail for less than that! You gotta call something!” – Socastee coach Tommy Johnson, offering advice to an official after a rather egregious possible foul during the Braves’ loss to Spring Valley on Thursday.