Girls savor win streak

Published 9:26 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

A two-game winning streak is cherished more by Davie’s varsity girls basketball team than a lot of teams would because it experienced 6-17 misery last year, it started 0-3 this year and expectations are low as Kevin Revels faces a massive rebuilding project in his second year as coach.

Against visiting A.L. Brown on Dec. 6, the War Eagles won a game it badly needed with North Iredell coming twice this week. The 49-39 victory followed a 58-40 win over Alexander Central five days earlier. The 3-A Wonders fell to 1-4.

It’s the first back-to-back wins since the 2015-16 season.

“I wore the orange pants. So yeah, I wanted this one bad,” Revels said. “These girls like each other. It makes it fun. We’re having a good time.”

Morgan Lewis’ seven-point first quarter got Davie going. Lewis and Trinity Hayes banged 3s as the quarter ended 13-13.

“Morgan is our emotional leader,” Revels said. “She hit a 3 in the first quarter that allowed us to get some space, and we worked with a lead almost the entire game. The thing that Morgan is getting really good at is making sure the other girls are emotionally where they need to be. She did that walking into the huddle in the fourth quarter.”

After Davie took a 24-22 advantage to the locker room, Maddie Tellup stirred an 11-6 spurt in the third. Her six points matched Brown’s output for the quarter, and Davie had 35-28 breathing room.

“Maddie is without a doubt our most aggressive defender and rebounder,” Revels said. “In the first half she hurt us sometimes by being a little too aggressive on our close-outs. She’s just a beast rebounding the ball. She plays a lot bigger than she is. (Her offense) comes from her aggression.”

The Wonders wouldn’t go quietly, but Davie kept pushing them aside until they finally faded.

When Rylea Carter found Hayes on the right wing, the 3-pointer gave Davie a 38-32 lead. Tellup drove the baseline, scored and was fouled. She missed the accompanying free throw, but the lead was 40-34. The Wonders got within three before Madison Jones gave Lewis a bounce pass inside. Lewis’ layup made it 42-37. Hayes fed Georgia Visser in transition, a layup that made it 44-39.

Up five, Davie spread the floor and milked a minute off the clock. Hayes fired from the right wing. The 3-ball was good. At 47-39 with a minute to go, that was the backbreaker.

“Man, I’m as pleased as I can be that we got the ball with two minutes and seven seconds left and ran a minute off the clock running our clock-killing offense,” he said. “One of the things we’ve been talking about is becoming mentally and emotionally tough, and I told them they finally got there tonight. In the fourth, they were mentally and emotionally tougher than we have been. They didn’t let mistakes get to them. They kept working hard.”

Davie was beautifully efficient, shooting 16 of 32 from the floor. Hayes knocked in three triples to score 17 points. After averaging 4.9 last year, the senior has ascended all the way to 16 per game.

“She’s turning into a star,” he said. “I think she’s going to continue to perform at that level. Then we’re talking about an all-conference player.”

Tellup (10 points, seven rebounds, two steals), Lewis (nine points) and Carter (nine points, six steals, 7-of-10 free-throw shooting) played significant roles. Carter’s offensive production has nearly tripled since her freshman year (3.5 scoring average last year to 10.4 this year).

“I don’t think we were able to get Rylea out of the game tonight,” he said. “With 54 seconds left in the third, she had four fouls. She had just made back-to-back steals. I wanted to get her out and let her rest for a minute, but we didn’t. She doesn’t play like a sophomore.”

Jones contributed two points and six rebounds. Visser had two points. Even though Jones and Mackenzie Dalton were not factors offensively, they got the job done in other areas.

“They are continuing to give us more productive minutes,” Revels said. “They’re getting better at being strong rebounders. Early in the season, they were getting rebounds and then turning the ball over. We’ve got a lot more confidence when they’ve got the ball in their hands.”