• 61°

South Davie Boys Cruise In Impressive Opener

Thomasville’s boys basketball team pulled a 51-42 upset over South Davie in last year’s conference tournament final, but in last week’s season opener, there was never a doubt who the better team was.

The host Tigers opened a 28-17 halftime lead and cruised to a 55-38 victory.

Three starters (Chris Reynolds, Cory Heiner and L.J. Doulin) are gone from last year’s 15-2 squad that captured the regular-season championship, but Cooper Wall, Curtis Gray and a host of quality complementary players are back.

“We lost three starters, but I’ve got some eighth graders back that got some pretty good time last year,” coach Brent Wall said.

Wall and Gray were joined in the starting lineup by Ross Starnes, Cameron Player and Jalen Redmond.

Wall, who averaged 21.4 points during an extraordinary seveth-grade season, picked up where he left off last winter with 23 points. While he only converted one 3-pointer, he penetrated, drew fouls and nailed six of eight free throws.

This marked his 13th 20-point effort in 18 South games and his 18th double-figure outing. “He attacked,” his father said. “He got to the basket a lot.”

Gray, who averaged 11.2 as a seventh grader, was next with 12 points. “he slashes and gets to the basket,” Wall said.

Player and Starnes contributed seven each as South punished a Thomasville team that finished 13-2 in 2012-13.

“They knocked down some 3s (to keep it reasonably close),” Wall said. “We did real well on the boards. We got to the line a good bit (11 of 22). We’re pretty aggressive trying to get to the hole. We’ve been trying to stress that. We’ve got to shoot better from the line, but overall we had a really good first game.”

Wall said he’s confident in the abilities of Devin Martin, Redmond, Josh Hall and Matthew Glass. Redmond was a non-factor in this one because of foul trouble.

“Martin can knock down shots and he’s a good ball handler,” he said. “Hall is a great shooter. We’ve got to get him some confidence. He can knock down 3s. Glass is 5-11 or 6-foot and can handle the ball.”

South Davie 55, Thomasville 38 – Cooper Wall 23, Curtis Gray 12, Cameron Player 7, Ross Starnes 7, Broc Barnette 4, Devin Martin 2.