Performance: Quincy's William Dunn

January 18, 2019

William Dunn
Quincy junior – Basketball

The 6-foot-8 forward had 30 points to lead Quincy past Reading 55-46 on Jan. 8, pushing the Orioles to 9-0 this season while becoming just the third player in program history to go over 1,000 career points. He entered the game needing four to reach the milestone, and he also grabbed 12 rebounds on the way to earning the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

Over 2½ varsity seasons, Dunn has lead Quincy to a combined 47-10 record, two league titles and a District championship, earning all-state honorable mention from The Associated Press after both of his first two seasons. This winter he’s averaging 25.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game, making 55 percent of his shots from the floor and 42 percent of his 3-point tries. Heading into tonight’s game against Concord, Dunn has 1,026 career points, trailing only 1995 graduate Jeff Bell (1,071 points) and 2003 grad Dominic Lopez (1,707) on the school’s all-time scoring list. Both of those players went on to compete at the college level – Bell at Olivet and Lopez at Navy – and Dunn already has scholarship offers from three Division I or II programs, including Division I American University in Washington, D.C.

Dunn has worked over the last year to get stronger and has upped his endurance as well, necessities especially as he deals with two and three defenders at a time aimed at stopping him. He also played football as a freshman and sophomore, making the varsity as a receiver his second season, and carries a 3.2 GPA with history his favorite academic interest. He could help his 380-student high school make some before his career is done; the Orioles are seeking their first Regional title in boys basketball and made the Regional Final his freshman season.  

Coach Scott Rodesiler said: “William Dunn is a unique talent who has been on the varsity team since his freshman season. During his first season, you could see that there was something special about him as a player. … (He) brings a unique blend of size, skill, athleticism, work ethic, competitiveness, and unselfishness to our team. Dunn's game is extremely versatile because his skill set allows him to score in so many different ways: fastbreaks, posting up, shooting a 3-pointer, driving to the hoop, shooting a mid-range jumper, (putting back) an offensive rebound, or hitting free throws. You may see him filling a lane on the fastbreak or getting the rebound and leading the fastbreak himself. William is basically a guard in a big man's body. I would not hesitate to play him at point guard if I needed him to do so. His ball handling and vision of the court are outstanding. The great thing about having William on the team is that you always know going into a game that you have a great chance of winning because he is capable of scoring 30+ points, pulling down 15+ rebounds and forcing other teams to change their defensive game plans. ... William's biggest improvement since last season has been his outside shot, in my opinion. Dunn made thousands of shots in the past year to take his game to a new level. He always had a nice shooting stroke, but the work he put in has allowed him to shoot with greater consistency. William has achieved at a high level all while facing double and triple teams, as well as numerous 'junk' defenses. One of his greatest abilities is making the right decisions with the basketball when faced with these types of defenses.”

Performance Point: “I just thought it was pretty cool that I was the third player to get (1,000), and so that means that not many people get that opportunity,” Dunn said. “(Reaching it as a junior) just shows all of the work that I've put in. It's just reflecting that. It's another step to everything that's been going on.”

On the radar, and the map: “It's nice for people to start recognizing some of the stuff that I've been able to do, or some of the stuff that I've accomplished. After my freshman year I had gone to some camps, and some people asked who I was and said they had heard of me. It's funny, because a lot of times they'll ask me where I'm from, and I tell them and they have no clue. They don't know where (Quincy) is. I ask them (if they know) where Coldwater is, because we're right next to that and it's a little bigger town, and if they don't know where that is, I just say it's right next to the Indiana border. ... Sometimes I hold up my hand like the mitten and point to it.”

Small town, big support: “It's kinda unique. … It feels like when we do something special, it's means more because it doesn't happen as often. I like the community aspect (of being small-town). Everybody knows you, everywhere you go. You go in town, go out to eat, there's people that you have no clue who they are but they've heard about you, seen you in the newspaper. It's real cool.”

Hard work pays: “It's really exciting to do this for the school and for the town. We work hard. We come into practice every day, practice extremely hard. We bond really well. There's nobody butting heads or anything; we mesh really well.”

School in session: “I’m been thinking about going into education and trying to be a teacher. Both of my parents are teachers; my dad is a weight training teacher and (teaches) health class and personal finance, and my mom is a fifth-grade science teacher. … They’ve always stressed (education), that school always comes first. Sometimes it gets a little hectic, but I've always adjusted to it. I always have known I have to get my work done.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2018-19 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard recognizes a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Past 2018-19 honorees

November 29: Dequan Finn, Detroit Martin Luther King football - Read
November 22: Paige Briggs, Lake Orion volleyball - Read
November 15:
Hunter Nowak, Morrice football - Read
November 8:
Jon Dougherty, Detroit Country Day soccer - Read
November 1:
Jordan Stump, Camden-Frontier volleyball - Read
October 25:
Danielle Staskowski, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep golf - Read
October 18:
Adam Bruce, Gladstone cross country - Read
October 11: Ericka VanderLende, Rockford cross country - Read
October 4:
Kobe Clark, Schoolcraft football - Read
September 27: Jonathan Kliewer, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern soccer - Read
September 20: Kiera Lasky, Bronson volleyball - Read
September 13: Judy Rector, Hanover-Horton cross country - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Quincy's William Dunn goes to the basket against Jonesville on Dec. 9. (Middle) Dunn rises to the rim during the 35-29 win. (Photos by Expressions Photography Design.)

Championship Experience from Coach's Point of View Unimaginable, Unforgettable

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

April 4, 2024

WYOMING – As the final buzzer sounded, it was all I could’ve imagined – and more.

West Michigan

In the weeks leading up to March 16 and the Division 4 championship game, I experienced every emotion possible as I envisioned what it would feel like to be an assistant coach on the bench at Michigan State’s Breslin Center as the Wyoming Tri-unity Christian boys basketball team achieved its ultimate goal.

In my first year as the junior varsity coach at Tri-unity, I had been on the varsity bench for a majority of the season, assisting legendary coach Mark Keeler and fellow assistants Brent Voorhees, Bob Przybysz and Mike Kaman.

I was there encouraging, motivating and supporting the varsity team. It was a role I embraced, and had become accustomed to over my almost 30 years coaching high school basketball.

I started coaching in 1995 as Jim Ringold gave me my first opportunity as the freshmen girls coach at Wyoming Kelloggsville High School. I would then coach Kelloggsville’s freshmen boys team for eight seasons, while also coaching the freshmen girls at Grandville High School. I would also coach the junior varsity teams at both schools.

I love coaching. I have a passion for it. I’ve always enjoyed getting the most out of my players while creating a bond between player and coach.

When girls basketball season moved from fall to winter joining the boys in 2007-08, I stayed at Grandville. I spent 21 seasons there before stepping down.

I still wanted to coach, and I heard that the Tri-unity junior varsity position was available. I had always respected and liked Keeler and was excited for the prospect of joining a perennial powerhouse.

I didn’t really know about Tri-unity growing up in the Wyoming Park school district. But as a young kid, I would rush home and eagerly await the afternoon delivery of the Grand Rapids Press. I would quickly find the sports page and read it from front to back, hoping one day to see my byline.

I began writing for the Press’ sports department in 1997. It was my dream job. And that’s also when I first started covering Tri-unity boys basketball.

I remember watching eventual NBA all-star Chris Kaman, along with Bryan Foltice and others play for this little Christian school and have unbridled success under Keeler.

MHSAA Tournament runs became the norm for the Defenders. They won their first Finals title in 1996, and they would claim four more over the next 26 years. They also had six runner-up finishes.

Tri-unity’s assistant coaches, including Holzwarth (second from right), monitor the action.I was sitting on media row writing for in 2022 when Brady Titus led Tri-unity to its fifth state championship.

I never thought that two years later I would be on the coaching staff as the Defenders pursued another one. But there I was.

I knew this year’s team had the potential to be special.

Tri-unity had returned four of its five starters from a year ago, after suffering a heart-breaking two-point loss to Munising in the Division 4 Final.

Eight seniors were on the roster. The team had a mix of talented guard play, senior leadership, size and depth. We had shooters and we played great defense, a trademark of Keeler’s teams.

This was the year, and that heaped lofty expectations on Keeler and the team. It was basically “state championship or bust.” Anything less would be considered a disappointment.

Keeler wanted it badly, and I knew the players did as well. I think they felt the pressure at times of living up to the expectations that had been set.

We had several lopsided wins, but also had a few tough losses to Division 2 and Division 3 teams – Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, Wyoming Lee, Grandville Covenant Christian and Schoolcraft – all talented teams that I think made us better despite falling short.

As the postseason started, there was anxiety and excitement.

We were one of the favorites, but it wouldn’t be easy. We would have to earn each of the seven victories needed to win it all.

First came a District title, but then we had to play a quality Fowler team in its home gym in the Regional Semifinal. This was a game we knew would be a challenge – and it was.

We led by only one at halftime after a 7-0 run to end the second quarter. The score was tied 33-33 in the fourth quarter before senior Lincoln Eerdmans made a key 3-pointer to spark our victory.

As we went through the handshake line, several Fowler players said, “Good luck in the Finals.”

Our defense played extremely well in the Regional Final and state Quarterfinal to secure our team another trip to the Breslin.

St. Ignace was our opponent in the Semifinal, and we had to face a senior guard who could do it all – Jonny Ingalls. He lived up to the hype. He was good, and we didn’t have any answer for him in the first half. We trailed by one, only to fall behind by seven late in the third quarter.

Was this the end? Were we going to fall one game short of our goal?

Holzwarth and the coaching staff greet Keaton Blanker (4) as he comes off the floor. We were down by five points in the fourth quarter, but junior guard Keaton Blanker, and others, rose to the occasion. We rallied to win a tight one, and now we were one win away from a Division 4 title.

The night before the championship game, we stayed at a hotel in East Lansing as we had the first game of the day at 10 a.m. We had a team dinner, and the players seemed relaxed and eager to close out the season the way they had intended.

There was one thing that worried me. We were playing Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. A team we had played in the second game of the season and defeated by 30 points.

Would we be overconfident? I had no idea. They were a different team now, but so were we. Anything could happen.

Keeler gave a spirited and emotional pregame speech. In last year’s loss to Munising, he felt like the team played not to lose, and this season his big thing was “I want to win.” He said it to every starter that Saturday morning during the final moments in the locker room before tipoff, asking all five individually to say it back – which they did, the first one quietly but followed by teammates replying louder and louder as everyone got fired up and “I want to win” rang through the locker room. I think it inspired all of us.

After a competitive first quarter, we started to find our rhythm and expanded the lead. We were ahead by double-digits at the half, and a state title was within our grasp. Senior Wesley Kaman buried a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third quarter to give us a 20-point cushion. It was at that point I knew we were going to win.

All five starters reached double-figure scoring, led by Jordan VanKlompenberg with 19 points and Owen Rosendall with 14. That balance was intentional and a successful sign for our team all season.

The exhilaration of winning was intoxicating. I loved watching the boys celebrate something they had worked so hard to accomplish. I will never forget their faces. I looked to my right from my seat on the bench and watched them running onto the court, just wearing their joy. They were just elated.

I was so happy for Keeler, a devout Christian who is respected by so many people in high school basketball circles. I learned so much from him this season. The way he approaches each game, his competitiveness. He instills his strong faith in his players and understands that the game of basketball is a bridge to a higher purpose.

Keeler is the fourth-winningest coach in state boys basketball history with a record of 694-216, and will be the winningest active coach next winter as all-time leader Roy Johnston retired from Beaverton at the end of this season.

The tournament run was one of the best coaching experiences I have had, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of a state championship season.

Dean HolzwarthDean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for five years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS (Top) The Wyoming Tri-unity Christian bench, including the author (far right) and head coach Mark Keeler (middle), celebrate a 3-pointer late in the Defenders’ Division 4 championship win over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. (Middle) Tri-unity’s assistant coaches, including Holzwarth (second from right), monitor the action. (Below) Holzwarth and the coaching staff greet Keaton Blanker (4) as he comes off the floor. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)