Boys suffer another agonizing defeat

Published 9:52 am Thursday, February 9, 2017

After trailing by seven at intermission, the scrap-every-night-out Davie varsity boys basketball team fought its way to a four-point, fourth-quarter lead over host North Davidson on Jan. 31.

Right then you said to yourself: “Justice is going to prevail. Davie has suffered six down-to-the-wire losses, but this tussle is going to go our way.”

And then justice said: “Hah!”

North tied it at 63. On North’s final possession, Mason Woodruff received a pass inside, at which time he had two points to his credit. He scored with 4.2 seconds left to hand Davie yet another agonizing defeat, 65-63.

On their Senior Night, the Black Knights improved to 9-11 overall and 2-7 in the Central Piedmont Conference. Their only league wins have come at Davie’s expense. Davie’s third loss in a row dropped it to 9-10, 1-8.

“I give them credit on the last possession,” Davie coach Mike Absher said. “They held the ball and made sure (Matthew) Essick had the ball. He did a good job of penetrating. We helped and he dumped it down to (Woodruff). We needed one more rotation on that play.”

Davie executed a length-of-the-court final play beautifully, but Heath Slabach’s 3-pointer for the win did not go.

“We have a play for that situation, and we ran it really well,” Absher said. “We had two options. Cory (Heiner) made a great pass to Michael (Walton), and Michael made a good cut and caught it. Michael pitched it to Heath. Heath came off a screen by Owen (McCormack), and at least we got a shot up. It doesn’t make anybody feel better, but it was good to see them execute the play.”

After digging a 32-25 halftime deficit, the War Eagles charged in front with a 23-12 burst in the third. Slabach, Walton, McCormack and Dylan Shoffner combined for 19 points in the quarter, and Davie had a 48-44 lead.

During the fourth, Davie maintained a four-point lead. Walton was crucial during that time with seven fourth-quarter points, including 5-for-5 free-throw shooting.

In the end, however, Davie was again left staggered and wondering what might have been. With an inability to close out opponents, it is 1-6 in games decided by four points or less. The other close CPC losses: 74-70 to Reynolds, 71-70 to North Davidson in overtime, 66-65 to Parkland and 90-84 to West Forsyth.

“Gosh, we competed,” Absher said. “Our offensive execution in the second half was probably as good as it’s been all year.

“Not that I sit around and add that stuff up, but I can’t ever remember in 32 years anything like that. Some of  it has been us. Some of it is we’ve had some bad luck. We’ve had some banked in free throws (against us) and breaks that didn’t go our way.”

Four days after watching Reagan wiggle off the hook in three overtimes, North overcame four double-figure scorers from Davie. Walton had 14, McCormack 13, Slabach 12 and Heiner 10.

Two of Shoffner’s seven points came with two minutes left in the third and provided a two-point lead for Davie. But moments after that big basket, he collided with a Knight and suffered a gash on his forehead. Shoffner never returned, adding to Davie’s injury woes. Cooper Wall was lost for the year with a torn ACL suffered against North on Jan. 3, Coleman Sell has missed two games with a severely sprained ankle, and now this.

“We couldn’t get (the bleeding) stopped enough for Dylan to come back in the game,” Absher said. “Brandon Horton and Will Shepherd did great jobs in his place. It’s another injury. We lose Dylan with 10 minutes to play.”

McCormack, Shepherd and Shoffner buried 3-pointers in the first quarter, but Davie only managed two more long balls the rest of the game. Meanwhile, North collected 11 triples to outscore Davie by 18 from beyond the arc.


In a nonconference game against a 2-A opponent, visiting Davie ripped Forbush to pieces, 84-38, on Feb. 2.

All 10 War Eagles cracked the scoring column as Davie (10-10 overall) notched its first win since Jan. 20 at Reynolds.

Slabach hit four of Davie’s eight 3-pointers and scored 16 points. Jacob Hendrix had 14, a varsity high for the sophomore. Shoffner and Walton had 12 each as Davie matched a season high in points.

The Falcons, who are 1-7 in the Western Piedmont Conference, fell to 9-12 overall.

Notes: The last game in the current Davie gym will be played Feb. 10. Absher would love nothing more than a packed house. “We have invited all of the past players, coaches, managers and scorekeepers (for girls and boys) to come back and enjoy this special evening,” he said. “We will also be honoring our senior winter athletes.”

N. Davidson 65, Davie 63 – Michael Walton 14, Owen McCormack 13, Heath Slabach 12, Cory Heiner 10, Dylan Shoffner 7, Will Shepherd 3, Brandon Horton 2, Jacob Hendrix 2.

Davie 84, Forbush 38 – Heath Slabach 16, Jacob Hendrix 14, Dylan Shoffner 12, Michael Walton 12, Cory Heiner 7, Brandon Horton 7, Owen McCormack 6, DeJuan Peebles 4, Will Shepherd 4, Broc Barnette 2.