South Davie Boys Remain Unbeaten
South Davie’s boys basketball team absorbed a punch from Ellis last week, but South did not go down, dominating the second half to remain unbeaten.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see them again deep in the playoffs,” South coach Brent Wall said. “All they’re going to do is get better.”
In Ellis’ first game of the week, the Jaguars cruised past host North Davie 38-17. The Jags, who improved to 3-1 and defeated North for the sixth time in seven meetings, led 8-2 after one quarter, 13-5 at the half and 29-11 after three.
“We didn’t play very well in the first half, but we turned it on in the second half by creating turnovers and getting points in transition,” Ellis coach Johnny Hill said.
Peyton Hampton (12 points), Latham Chamberlain (seven), Darius Hill (five) and Hite Merrifield (five) paced Ellis’ scoring. North fell to 1-4.
“It was not the balanced scoring that we would like to have, but it was nice to get the win,” Hill said.
The Tigers came out of the gates spectacularly at home against North Davidson, taking a 32-7 lead in the first quarter and settling for a 54-30 win.
In the decisive first, Ross Starnes buried three of four 3-pointers and scored all 11 of his points. Cooper Wall (nine points), Curtis Gray (six) and Devin Martin (four) contributed to the early knockout.
“Ross came out on fire, and they’re buying in that it will come off the defensive end,” Wall said. “When Curtis is active in our (fullcourt) 1-3-1 and we get people trapped, we cause a lot of havoc. We had countless steals. Cooper missed two dunks or we could have had 36 (in the first quarter).”
Wall (17 points) and Gray (14) led South’s scoring. Starnes hit double figures for the third straight game.
With Ellis employing a triangle-and-two in the first half against visiting South, the Jaguars were right where they wanted to be when the half ended – tied at 19.
Hampton was on Gray and Michael Walton had Wall in the triangle defense.
“They’ve got a really good team, and they’re young,” Wall said. “Mason Wilson is one of the few eighth graders that plays a lot, and Mason played really good. He hit big shots in the first half. When we’d get a little bit of a lead, Mason would knock down a big shot.”
Wall and assistant Germain Mayfield did some motivational talking during recess, and it’s hard to imagine a better response. The Tigers went on a 17-2 run to blow the game open at 36-21. They scored the first nine points in the fourth to widen the gap to 45-21. Gray and Wall teamed up for 14 points in the third.
“There were some things talked about at halftime,” Wall said. “We’re an experienced team and we told them at halftime: ‘Let’s turn the tempo up, let’s be physical and let’s do the things we do.’ And they responded.”
Foul trouble hampered the upset bid for Ellis (3-2). Hampton had three fouls in the first half, he picked up his fourth early in the third and fouled out moments later.
“They really missed his presence,” Wall said. “When he sat, they kind of had to get out of that triangle-and-two.”
“I thought we played well in the first half against a very good and well-coached team,” Hill said. “But when your opponent shoots 25 free throws to your eight, it’s tough to win. Not in any way does that mean we lost because of our lack of opportunities at the charity stripe, but it sure does hurt.”
Gray scored a team-high 14 points, reaching double figures for the sixth time, as South ran its record to 6-0, extended its regular-season winning streak to 16 and defeated Ellis for the ninth time in 10 meetings.
Ellis could not take advantage of Wall (13) scoring a season for the second straight game. But he did crack double digits for the 21st time in 21 middle-school games. Cameron Player was third for South with six points.
Ellis was led by Wilson’s eight points and Chamberlain’s five. Hampton, who had hit double figures in three straight, was limited to four. Walton was also held to four.
“We will learn from the experience and continue to play hard, regardless of our opponent,” Hill said. “Sometimes what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Ellis 38, N. Davie 17 – Peyton Hampton 12, Latham Chamberlain 7, Darius Hill 5, Hite Merrifield 5, Ty Dockery 3, Landon Bandy 2, Coleman Sell 2, Michael Walton 2.
S. Davie 54, N. Davidson 30 – Cooper Wall 17, Curtis Gray 14, Ross Starnes 11, Devin Martin 6, Chase Johnson 2, Cameron Player 2, Jalen Redmond 2.
S. Davie 48 – Curtis Gray 14, Cooper Wall 13, Cameron Player 6, Josh Hall 4, Jalen Redmond 4, Ross Starnes 3, Devin Martin 2, Broc Barnette 2.
Ellis 30 – Mason Wilson 8, Latham Chamberlain 5, Peyton Hampton 4, Michael Walton 4, Landon Bandy 3, Hite Merrifield 3, Coleman Sell 3.
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