Wall scores 1,000th point
Published 9:57 am Thursday, February 22, 2018
Cooper Wall won a spot in an exclusive club, but Davie’s boys basketball team lost a lot while losing to Reynolds in the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament semifinals on the Demons’ home floor on Feb. 14.
Since Davie and Reynolds tied for second in the regular season, with Davie winning 62-50 on Jan. 5 and Reynolds winning 61-59 on Jan. 26, this served as the tiebreaker. This outcome settled the CPC’s No. 2 seed for the state playoffs and a likely home game in the first round.
With a lot on the line, the third-seeded War Eagles faltered badly, falling 64-45 to the No. 2 Demons. It was Davie’s worst defeat since 74-55 at Mt. Tabor on Jan. 12, 2017. It was Davie’s lowest point total since a 61-36 home loss to Reagan in 2014-15, a span of 81 games.
On a night when Wall joined the program’s 1,000-point club, the War Eagles laid an offensive egg, shooting 38 percent overall (19 of 50) and 19 percent from 3-point land (4 for 21). Reynolds, by contrast, displayed red-hot shooting (46 percent overall) – particularly from long range (7 of 14 on 3s).
“They had made five 3s in two games against us, and they made four in the first half,” Davie coach Mike Absher said. “They shot the ball the best they’ve shot it against us in a long time. That took us out of what our game plan was for them.”
The first quarter was a dud for Davie (18-8), which fell behind 21-9. The second quarter was the same as Davie dug a 36-18 halftime hole. While Reynolds (17-8) knocked down 15 of 26 field goals and 4 of 7 3-pointers (57 percent overall) for the half, Davie missed 16 of 24 shots and nine of 10 3s. On top of that, Davie committed 10 first-half turnovers.
“Our defensive intensity, we had it and we were able to sustain it all night,” Reynolds coach Billy Martin told the Winston-Salem Journal. “I thought that was the difference.”
“In the two games prior to this, Reagan and Glenn, we were a combined 20 for 39 from 3,” Absher said. “All of those (3s) but one in the first half was a good look. You go: ‘Man, that’s a good shot.’ They just didn’t go in. That was tough to overcome because they’re so athletic and they’ve obviously got more size than we do. You’ve got to be on your A game to beat them. Playing at home was obviously an advantage for them, too.”
Owen McCormack and Wall breathed life into the War Eagles in the third quarter. After Troy Griggs’ drive for two, Wall found McCormack for a 3-pointer, and a 16-3 Davie charge was in motion. McCormack scored inside, Griggs assisted a Wall layup and McCormack sank a jump hook. Wall received a dish from Griggs and buried a 3. Wall capped the run with two free throws, cutting what was a 41-20 deficit to 44-36 late in the third.
While Davie converted 7 of 15 shots in the third, Reynolds was missing 12 of 15 attempts.
“We knew they were going to make a run,” Martin told the Journal. “We just tried to convince our kids that if they make it, don’t get rattled. Just keep up the pressure.”
“Credit to our guys for coming out in the second half swinging and making a great run at them,” Absher said. “We had a chance to get (the deficit) to six. One more bucket might have made all the difference in the world.”
Down 44-36, Broc Barnette grabbed a defensive rebound. Davie would commit a turnover. Barnette took a charge, but Davie missed a 3 on the other end. After Michael Walton controlled a defensive board, Davie threw it away.
Three possessions with the score 44-36 and three missed opportunities.
Reynolds’ Devin Ingram was not stellar on this night, but he managed to deliver the dagger on back-to-back possessions in the first 67 seconds of the fourth. He nailed a 3 – his first field goal of the game – to bump the Demons’ lead to 49-36. Following one of Davie’s 19 turnovers, he knocked down another 3 to make it 52-36.
At that moment, Davie’s dreams of a tiebreaker triumph and a first-round playoff game at home were all but drowned.
“We tried to trap, press and put as much pressure on them as we could,” Absher said. “And speed it up. It takes a lot of energy to do that. (Ingram) is a good player; he just hadn’t done much to that point.”
Wall finished with 14 points and five assists. McCormack had 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Griggs had six points, Walton four and Jacob Hendrix 3. Reynolds’ end-to-end, in-your-face defense limited Hendrix to three shot attempts. Brooks Johnson and Barnette had two points each and Justice Redmon one. Barnette was Davie’s top rebounder with five boards.
Wall owns a ton of receiver records from football, and now he’s among 10 guys in the program’s 1,000-point club. You could see it coming in 2014. Shot out of a cannon, he scored 21 and 21 in his first two freshman games.
He arrived at Reynolds’ gym with 999 career points and left Winston-Salem with 1,013. The club includes Dwayne Grant (2007 points, Class of ‘77), Duane Phillips (1544, ‘00), Drew Absher (1460, ‘09), Shannon Dillard (1387, ‘12), Nate Jones (1348, ‘12), Sean Stevens (1232, ‘02), Randall Ward (1094, ‘67), Cody Martin (1072 from 2010-13) and Jingles Ijames (1058, ‘70).
Interestingly enough, the first Davie male to reach 1,000 was Wall’s grandfather, Randall Ward. Now the Wall/Ward family represents 20 percent of the list. Wall would have reached this plateau a while back, but as a junior he missed the first three games because of the football team’s deep playoff run and he was sidelined the last 12 games with a season-ending knee injury.
“I was super excited,” Absher said. “It’s well deserved, especially after missing as many games as he missed last year. To overcome that and still get 1,000 points for his career is just awesome. I couldn’t have been happier when he scored that bucket.”
Notes: Davie has had four double-figure scorers basically all year. As it stands now, Walton is averaging 15.1, McCormack 12.7, Wall 11.7 and Hendrix 11.4. … In the CPC Tournament championship game, Reynolds squeaked past No. 1 East Forsyth 61-60 as Treviz Murphy hit 1 of 2 free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining.