Girls lose tense game in OT

Published 8:45 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

CLEMMONS – For a few moments, you thought this could be the moment we’ve been waiting for. Davie’s girls basketball team had gone from trailing by 16 to leading host West Forsyth in the first round of the 4-A playoffs. Beat West and Davie’s image completely changes.

The War Eagles fought back and went toe-to-toe with the team that shared first place in the Central Piedmont Conference’s regular season and captured the CPC Tournament – only to suffer flashbacks in the end. West prevailed 60-56 in overtime on Feb. 23.

While the 25th-seeded War Eagles finished 16-11, the No. 8 Titans improved to 20-6. This was another stomach-punch for Davie, which was 2-4 in games decided by five points or less.

“It was typical of our season,” Davie coach Dave Ruemenapp said. “We get in a big game, have a chance, feel like we’re coming up short and begin to think: ‘Here we go again.’ We struggled in the Mary Garber (tournament) the same way. We struggled at West Forsyth and Reynolds the same way. It would have been really nice to get over the hump in this one.”

The first half was one massive pothole for the War Eagles, who committed a ton of live-ball turnovers and fell behind 24-12 when Ruemenapp called for his second timeout. The stoppage did not produce immediate desired results as West opened up its largest lead at 28-12. West built that lead behind a 21-5 run. Madison Zaferatos hit the third of her four 3-pointers to cut it to 28-15, giving Davie a little life going into halftime.

In the first half, West scored 10 points off turnovers and held Ashlyn Hampton and Emma Slabach, who picked up two fouls in the first 4:10, to a combined two points.

“We needed to come out with more much energy and intensity,” Ruemenapp said. “We struggled against their zone a bunch in the last game. With what we tried to do in the first half, they were just longer and quicker and we made a lot of turnovers.”

The War Eagles, though, pulled off a 180-degree turnaround in the second half. After scoring one point in two and a half games, Slabach was like a volcano just waiting to erupt – and she did just that with 16 second-half points. Hampton found her rhythm, too, scoring 10 in the second half.

“We regrouped and played the best basketball we had all year in the second half,” Ruemenapp said. “We have a bunch of seniors and we talked about this is not the way we wanted to go out. There was something that made them decide they were going to increase their effort and energy.”

In the third quarter, the score was stuck at 28-15 for two minutes, 30 seconds. Then Slabach began raining 3s. The first of her four trifectas made it 28-18. Moments later, Davie went on a 21-7 run. A Slabach 3-point try went down and back out, but she wound up with the ball again and nailed a 12-footer. Hampton converted a tough putback. Slabach buried a 3. When Zaferatos got a brick-wall screen from Aubriana Peebles and popped a 3 to close the third, Davie was within 38-34.

“As we made that stride in the third, there were a couple of calls that made us all scratch our heads,” Ruemenapp said. “And our crowd really got into it, their team got a little testy and we totally became the focussed team that I always thought we were capable of becoming. We stopped worrying about the pressure and what we were doing as individuals and just played basketball.”

Patterson Jones swished a 17-footer off an inbounds pass from Zaferatos. The Davie momentum grew when West was called for traveling.

“We kept telling Patterson: ‘We’ve got confidence in you,’” Ruemenapp said. “She didn’t hesitate and hit a huge shot.”

Slabach completed the stirring comeback with a go-ahead 3 that provided a 41-39 lead with 5:48 to play, and by this point sparks were flying from her fingertips.

After a West timeout, the Davie flurry continued. Zaferatos made a great pass to Hampton, who responded with a great finish for a 43-41 lead. Then came another 3-ball from Slabach, who gave Davie a 46-43 lead. It looked as if the Titans were ready to crack, but they immediately answered with a game-tying 3.

“I give them credit,” Ruemenapp said. “It’s hard to recover the momentum. They had to feel like the game was pretty well in hand. Then they had to come back and keep finding ways.”

“It’s not easy to beat a team three times, especially a team as talented as Davie,” West’s first-year coach, Brittany Cox, told the Winston-Salem Journal. “We were confident coming in, but at the same time we knew what we were getting with Davie. Davie is a very aggressive team, which makes every game against them tough. And it’s always tough when you play a conference opponent.”

Hampton stepped out and drained a 16-footer for a 48-46 advantage. West answered with a tying jumper with 1:50 to go. Zaferatos found Hampton, who finished with the left hand and Davie had a 50-48 lead. Undaunted, West tied it at 50 with a minute left. After Davie missed two shots, West got possession and called time with 40 seconds left. After milking the clock, West was forced to take two long shots that missed in the final eight seconds.

Overtime was next.

“Man, I was so proud of how they played together,” Ruemenapp said. “They executed everything. There was hardly a call I made from the middle of the third until the end of the fourth that we didn’t execute perfectly. We may not have made every bucket, but man, the execution was just flawless.

“In the second half, all the things we had put in for the zone offense opened people up for shots. Emma hit some and that pulled them out a little bit. That opened it up inside for Ashlyn. I wish it would have worked for one more bucket in regulation.”

West took control right off the bat in overtime, leading 54-50. Caitlyn Peebles fouled out and Davie never could get closer than two. The ending had Davie fans seething at officials. With West leading 58-56 and inbounding the ball, Jones appeared to have a steal near Davie’s basket with 4.2 seconds left. But the baseline official called a foul on Zaferatos, and West sealed the deal at the line.

“Patterson was going to have the ball in her hands the last few seconds, and it would have been fun to see what was going to happen,” Ruemenapp said. “I may be a little biased, but I thought we played pretty good defense on that possession. You hate to talk about officiating, but you’d like to see the girls finish it out and not decide it at the free-throw line.”

Zaferatos finished with 18 points. Slabach nailed 7 of 9 field goals to score 16. Hampton had 12. A. Peebles chipped in six.

The catalyst for West, which doesn’t have a senior, was freshman point guard Callie Scheier, who scored 23 points and hit 8 of 8 free throws. Amira Williams had 17 points and eight rebounds.

“Everything I said to them in the second half, they went out and did it perfectly,” Ruemenapp said. “It just wasn’t enough.”


• The Titans, who beat Davie 58-46 and 40-36 in the regular season, have won 13 of 15 in the series.

• In the second round, West lost 65-61 in overtime to No. 9 Dudley (20-7).

• After going 18-7 and finishing second in the CPC in 2014-15, this was a lesser season for the War Eagles. A lot of that had to do with injuries. A. Peebles missed the first 10 games. Sha’veh Martinez, who could have helped out a bunch with ball handling and perimeter shooting, missed the final 21 games.

• Davie will graduate four seniors: Jones, Zaferatos, C. Peebles and A. Peebles. Zaferatos averaged 13.3 points, 3.8 assists and hit 54 3-pointers. She closed her career with 1,097 points. … C. Peebles averaged 6.3 points and 6.9 rebounds. A. Peebles averaged 5.6 points and 4.4 rebounds. Jones averaged 3.3 points.

• The cornerstones for next year’s team will undoubtedly be Hampton and Slabach. Hampton, a junior, averaged 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. It’s the highest scoring average in three years (Amy Steller scored 15.5 in 2012-13). Slabach, a freshman, averaged 7.5 points and went 41 of 110 from 3-point land.

W. Forsyth 60, Davie 56 (OT) – Madison Zaferatos 18, Emma Slabach 16, Ashlyn Hampton 12, Aubriana Peebles 6, Patterson Jones 2, Caitlyn Peebles 2.