Mr. Everything’s run ends at Chaminade Julienne in the state semifinals
This time was different though.
The Eagles entered the game with a 26-2 record and a talented group, including Michigan’s George Washington III, who was recently named Ohio’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
That’s why this moment was so difficult.
Dickey hadn’t thought of this.
He didn’t think about it in the final seconds to lose to Lutheran West, 56-54, in a D-II semifinal Friday at the Arena.
CJ took a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles managed just one free throw in the final three minutes.
Lutheran West’s 6-foot-6 Matthew Meyer banked in a teammate’s layup to tie the score at 54-54 with 38 seconds left and then scored the go-ahead layup with 3 seconds left.
With 2 seconds left, CJ made a last ditch effort to avoid a shocking defeat.
Dickey took the ball out of bounds and made a perfect pass that Joe Burrow couldn’t have thrown better with a football.
Washington took a leap near the Longhorns’ three-point line, turned and made a spectacular shot that blazed past the rim as the game ended.
If the tree had gone in, CJ would have won.
“I felt like I could get the ball to George and I put it perfect,” Dickey said. “George hit that shot a million times. As soon as it was released, I thought it was good… But this time it wasn’t.
“My heart fell to the floor.”
Dickey — who scored 13 points to Washington’s 14 on Friday — also suffered a 2021 state championship loss, but that one was by 17 points. And he was only 15 and—even then he predicted—he thought he’d get another crack at the crown before he graduated.
“This is a lot harder to take,” he said while standing in the shade of the UD Arena ramp. “After that last one I put in a lot of work and I felt like I had the leadership to help us this year.
“We’ve come this far… but now it’s over.
“This is the last time I will wear this uniform.”
All praises to the Lord
This season the team added the 6-foot-2 Washington and his younger brothers, BB, a 6-foot-6 junior, and JJ, a 5-10 freshman.
They are the sons of Jackie and George Washington, who joined Tamika Williams Jeter’s coaching staff this season with the UD women’s basketball team.
After the loss, George III and Dickey met with CJ coach Charlie Szabo in a press conference. He gave the coach a chance to praise his two stars:
“George is as advertised. We’ve come up on his back. He played big game after big game all year. I’m so happy he won that Gatorade Player of the Year award. He’s so deserving.
“He had the best offensive season of anyone in Chaminade Julianne … and Chaminade … history and that goes back almost 100 years.
“I don’t know how he wasn’t a finalist for Mr. Basketball.”
As for Dickey, Szabo smiled, “Evan Dickey (CJ) had one of the most storied careers of anyone to wear a jersey.
“He’s not a guy who has to make all the shots. He’s not a guy who feels like he needs to score 20 points to make an impact in a game. He does so much for us that cannot be seen. Guards the other team’s best player. It helps to raise the ball. Helps control the ball late. It bounces. He led the GCL (Great Catholic League) in assists, or at least he was right there.
“Everything has been fine.”
Szabo said the most impressive thing Dickey did this season was embrace Washington with open arms:
“He would have been the best player coming back this year and then we get a player like George.
“Evan made it his own. There was never any jealousy. Never, ‘This was supposed to be my year!’
“He hugged (George) and his whole family. We don’t have the year we had without Evan’s leadership.”
Dickey later retracted that praise:
“I have no problem not being a hero all the time.”
Raised on basketball
After the game, Joyce Dickey waited for her son inside the door to the Connor Lobby in front of UD Arena.
“I haven’t tried to text or anything yet,” she said softly. “It’s hard to see after this. It meant so much.
“I will tell him to keep his head up and be humble and ‘whatever is meant for you will happen to you.'”
He saw that thought growing up in Trotwood when he started playing basketball at age 6, even though he played with older kids because he skipped first grade.
She and her husband had a hoop in their house. One of Evan’s uncles had one, and so did his grandparents, who lived near Dunbar High. He played in all of them and also with an AAU and Metro team.
She followed her older sister Kelsey to CJ, where she was a cheerleader before moving to Michigan. He also cheered for the Wolverines for two years, and is now a senior.
As for Evan, he is under-recruited.
He said the only scholarship offer he has received is from Division II Wheeling University in West Virginia.
“Today, Duquesne has someone on its guard,” Joyce said. “I’m hoping and praying for that.
“I hope this is not the last time on the court. He wants to play college basketball. It would be a waste not to have a chance for him. I think it could have flourished.’
He smiled at the thought.
He was watching.
He was watching before he went and did it.