JV boys rally for 3 wins

Published 9:15 am Thursday, February 8, 2018

For about 11 weeks, the Davie JV boys basketball team was a fun story. If it had been limited to that, if the basketball gods had put an emphatic ending on the proceedings following Noah Bohannon’s game-winning, buzzer-beater against Reynolds on Jan. 26, it would have been difficult to have felt too cheated.

If coach Ty Woodring’s War Eagles had come back down to earth and began losing close games, that would have felt, well, normal.

But here was Davie at West Forsyth on Jan. 29, at home against East Forsyth on Jan. 31 and at home against Glenn on Feb. 2 and the fun would not die. Here was Davie winning 49-43 over West, 61-48 over East and 45-42 over Glenn.

It really is incredible that Davie’s leading scorer, Matt James, averages 7.4 points per game and it entered the final week at 15-2 overall and 7-1 in the Central Piedmont Conference. The War Eagles are 5-0 in games decided by three points or less. Their seven-game winning streak is the longest in 13 years.

But here’s what’s bonkers: During the three-games-in-five days against West, East and Glenn, the War Eagles were outscored 77-46 in the first halves. What about the second halves, you ask? Davie outscored them 109-56.

“It has definitely not been easy coaching this bunch, but it’s been satisfying to see the end results,” Woodring said. “But my gosh, it’s putting some gray hairs on in a hurry.”


West Forsyth, particularly Parker Nelson, came out guns blazing in the first half. Nelson hit more 3-pointers in the first 16 minutes (five) than Davie hit for the game (three). The result was a 30-19 deficit for Davie.

“We didn’t play defense,” Woodring said. “We were playing awful. We just didn’t come out ready to play. We tried to go through the motions, and we saw pretty quickly what happened.”

The good in the second half trumped the bad from the first half. Davie went on a 15-5 run in the third, getting between two and four points from Zach Smith, Alex Ratledge, Bohannon, Aaron Williams and James Reid. Then Davie outscored the Titans 15-8 in the fourth.

After Nelson burned Davie in the first half, he didn’t score a single point in the second half. Credit the defense of James, Smith and Williams.

“My boys responded,” Woodring said. “There were a lot of moving parts in the second half. It was a group effort again.”

The defining moment in the fourth was a Ben Crenshaw 3-pointer that pushed Davie ahead by four. Davie converted 6 of 7 free throws in the fourth to win by six. Its last eight wins have been by four, eight, seven, two, one, eight, one and six points.

Smith and Crenshaw finished with 10 points each. Reid had eight, Ratledge seven, Bohannon five, Adrian Cranfill four, James three and Williams two. Davie made 11 of 15 foul shots, with Crenshaw and James both going 3 for 3, Ratledge 3 for 4 and Reid 2 for 3.

“Adrian guarded their best offensive weapon (along with Williams) from the previous game and held him at bay,” he said. “Last game he had 20 points against us. Tonight he only scored four. Isaiah Cuthrell made several big defensive plays and had several big rebounds.”


Against East Forsyth, Davie watched East take over in the second quarter to take a 27-20 lead.

“It was a mixture of lack of defense and they had three or four possessions in a row where we had no idea who we were guarding,” Woodring said. “I called two timeouts in the first half just to say: ‘Call out a number of who you’re guarding.’”

What a response. Davie used a 21-7 spree in the third to capture a 41-34 lead. Crenshaw had seven of the 21. Williams had five and James nailed a 3-pointer.

“We started playing ball,” he said. “Smith and Reid are turning into dominant big guys on defense, protecting the rim and not allowing any easy shots. We played better on-the-ball defense in the third.”

East got no closer than five in the fourth and lost by 13. It was Davie’s first win by more than eight since Dec. 14.

East had to start fouling – and hoping Davie would miss – with 1:40 to go. Ratledge salted the game away by making 8 of 10 free throws.

James finished with three 3s and 13 points. Ratledge made 10 of 12 free throws for the game and had 10 points. Crenshaw had nine and Williams seven. Smith and Reid had six each. Scottie Lyons and Bohannon had five apiece. Now Davie was alone in first, with everyone else in the CPC having at least two losses.

“Alex made two free throws with under a second left to beat Glenn by one (on Jan. 12),” he said. “He’s probably the most dependable free-throw shooter we’ve got.

“Ben had several big drives in the third and fourth. He was beating his man off the dribble and finishing at the rim.”


When the first half ended against Glenn, the War Eagles faced a 20-7 deficit. They struggled mightily, perhaps just so they could rally and celebrate jubilantly once again.

They went from lousy to superb to win by three.

“What do you say at halftime when you’ve only scored seven points?” Woodring said. “I told them that’s about as bad as it gets. Surely we can’t play any worse in the second half. It was pretty embarrassing. We turned the ball over a ton of times and they played a 2-3 zone the entire game. I told them to play with heart and leave it all on the court.”

After failing to hit a field goal in the second quarter, Davie ripped off a 20-9 run in the third. After Lyons hit Davie’s only 3 in the first half, Davie got third-quarter 3s from James, Ratledge, Williams and Bohannon. When the third ended, Davie was within two.

“I don’t even know what to say,” he said. “It was a complete tale of two halves. It was pathetic in the first half. We stopped turning the ball over and that was the big difference.”

Bohannon and Smith combined for 11 points in the decisive fourth.

In the waning seconds, Glenn made a layup to cut Davie’s lead to one. Davie missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Bobcats called timeout with the ball at halfcourt. Crenshaw sealed the deal, intercepting the inbounds pass and streaking down for a layup as the horn sounded.

Davie has the longest winning streak since Terry Mitchell’s 2004-05 team won nine straight. That team was anchored by Jack Rooney (13.3 points per game), Dillon Manship (9.2) and Whit Merrifield (8.4).

Bohannon (10) delivered his most points in nine games to pace the three-point win over Glenn. James and Reid had eight each. Smith had six, Williams five and Ratledge and Lyons three apiece. Crenshaw’s only two came at crunch time.

For the season, Reid is second to James with a 6.8 average. Smith is averaging 6.4, Crenshaw 6.2, Ratledge and Bohannon 5 each and Williams 4.2.