Boys win in OT at Reynolds

Published 9:40 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Davie varsity boys basketball team could relate to what Reynolds was going through in the aftermath of Davie’s 59-56 overtime win on the road on Jan. 20. The War Eagles know what it feels like to come painfully oh so close.

Before this, they were 0-4 in games decided by four points or less, including a 74-70 stinger to the Demons on Dec. 13. A week earlier in their last game, they suffered a 66-65 loss at Parkland. They were winless in the grueling Central Piedmont Conference.

This was another emotionally draining contest, but this time pesky Davie turned the tables.

“Wow, it was great,” coach Mike Absher said. “They really deserved that win. They’ve worked so hard and hung in there through all the difficult stuff. It was really good for the guys.”

You anticipated the matchup would be a lot of fun, and it came through big-time. Reynolds led 11-9 at the end of the first quarter. The teams were tied at 21 and 42 after the second and third periods. Heath Slabach stepped up with nine of Davie’s 21 points in the third.

“We were 0-6 (in the CPC), and three of those were one-possession games that we lost,” Absher said. “Tonight turned into that same kind of contest.”

It was 50-50 with 1:50 remaining. Reynolds got a steal and went to the four corners. Reynolds coach Billy Martin called timeout with 9.5 seconds to go.

“At first, I didn’t think they were going to hold it all the way down, and (assistant coach Tim Kenney) said something about don’t let them hold it,” Absher said. “We did try to put a little pressure on them. They still did a good job of holding it.”

Everyone knew where the ball was going. Arion Broadnax carried the Demons with 21 points, 13 more than the next guy. His 3-point try was off. Davie had gotten a critical stop at the moment of truth.

“We just wanted to take (Broadnax) off the ball screen, drive and penetrate,” Martin told the Winston-Salem Journal. “If they stop him, kick out for the shot. If not, take it all the way to the basket. But he didn’t turn the corner – they just kept him – and he took a desperation shot.”

“We knew Broadnax was going to come off a screen,” Absher said. “Kenney said let’s double it. We doubled it.”

With 2:35 left in the four-minute overtime, Davie grabbed a 52-50 lead on two Dylan Shoffner free throws. It never looked back, pushing the margin to 54-50 on two free throws by Owen McCormack. After going 14 for 23 from the line in regulation, Davie converted 5 of 6 in OT.

“If we had shot free throws (well) in regulation, it would have been over,” Absher said.

Cory Heiner, who scored five clutch points in the fourth quarter, scored with 31.5 seconds left in OT. Slabach’s free throw with 9.8 seconds left put it out of reach, 59-53.

The War Eagles (9-7, 1-6) celebrated their first win over Reynolds in four years. After dropping seven straight in the series, this was the first win since 59-52 at Reynolds during the Caleb and Cody Martin days of 2012-13.

This was a costly defeat for the Demons (10-6, 3-3), who were trying to remain in a tie for third.

Slabach, who nailed two of Davie’s four 3-pointers, led with 15 points. McCormack and Heiner had 13 each, with Heiner going 5 for 5 from the line. Top-scorer Michael Walton had one of his lowest outputs (five points), but Shoffner (11) compensated with his highest total in five games.

“Whether it was just us not being able to close out the games or some things going against us, I felt like we sort of got over that hill tonight,” Slabach told the Journal.

“I’m really proud of those guys,” Absher said. “We talk about toughness all the time, and they played tough tonight. A lot of things went against them, but they kept battling.”

Walton has the top scoring average at 12. Slabach stands at 11.3, McCormack 10.6, Heiner 9.3 and Shoffner 8.1.

Davie 59, Reynolds 56 (overtime) – Heath Slabach 15, Owen McCormack 13, Cory Heiner 13, Dylan Shoffner 11, Michael Walton 5, Coleman Sell 2.