Boy’s basketball starts 4-0

Published 9:53 am Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Davie varsity boys basketball team is 4-0 for the third straight year, and it has been better than Rockingham County, West Rowan, Alexander Central and Mooresville by more than a little, the wins coming by margins of 17, 41, 19 and 17.

The last time Davie achieved four wins in succession by 17 or more was 2012-13, when the War Eagles were anchored by twins Caleb (18.1 points per game) and Cody Martin (14.8) and Austin Hatfield (13.9). That powerful squad captured the conference tournament and finished 21-6.

Against visiting Mooresville on Dec. 7, a 74-57 victory for the home team after leading by as many as 28, Davie faced early adversity as big man Owen McCormack was whistled for two fouls in the first minute, 12 seconds. Even though he was forced to watch the rest of the quarter from the bench, even though Michael Walton was saddled with three first-half fouls, Davie jumped to a 10-2 lead and led 39-28 at halftime. Credit subs like James Reid and Zach Smith.

“The guys who came off the bench early did a great job,” coach Mike Absher said. “James and Zach played well. You talk about developing a bench, and situations like that is what it’s for.”

The War Eagles haven’t put together a complete game on the offensive end yet, but they showed glimpses of what they can do in the second quarter.

The score was 25-16. It swelled to 37-21 in less than two minutes. After Davie failed to connect from deep in the first quarter, Brooks Johnson, McCormack, Walton and Jacob Hendrix nailed triples during the 12-5 flurry.

Davie showed more glimpses of its offensive potential during a 21-point third that saw the margin grow to 28. Perhaps the signature play of the third started with a McCormack defensive rebound and quick outlet to Troy Griggs, who whipped it ahead to Walton, who gave it right back to Griggs for a fast-break layup.

“We’re showing spurts of shooting it like we’re capable,” Absher said. “Each game it’s gotten a little better. When you’ve got three or four guys who can score, it’s tough for teams to defend you. We’ve got to be able to do that at a more consistent level. Once we get there, we’re going to be OK.”

Hendrix, who has scored in double figures in each game, was everywhere again with 18 points, six rebounds and five blocks. The southpaw nailed 7 of 11 field goals. McCormack (14 points, nine rebounds, two blocks), Johnson (13 points, two blocks, 5-of-9 field goals) and Griggs (12 points, 8 assists) were the other primary keys.

Griggs sustained his point-guard excellence, going 4-of-5 from the field and 4-4 from the foul line to go with the eight assists. Oh yeah, he also smothered senior guard Shy Smith, who finished with zero field goals and three points.

“Alex Ratledge had him a little bit, and Justice Redmon had him for a few minutes. But Troy was the primary defender on him,” Absher said.

Walton made 6 of 6 free throws to score nine. Reid had six points on perfect shooting (2-2 FGs, 2-2 FTs) and Smith chipped in two.

“We only had nine turnovers. I’m really proud of that,” he said. “I would have liked to kept that 28-point lead. We kind of lost our flow, but we got enough stops to keep (a safe lead).”

Notes: Davie shot 46 percent from the field (25-54) and 90 percent from the line (19-21). … Led by long-armed Hendrix, Davie rejected nine shots. … Mooresville (0-4) remained winless. … This was the first meeting since Dec. 28, 2016, when Mooresville shaved Davie 68-66 in the Sam Moir Christmas Classic.