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Froelich debuts for 9th boys

The Davie freshman basketball team’s ball handling was dismal against Reagan, resulting in a 15-point loss. Coach Mike Dinkins was in better spirits following the final game of the season, a 29-point stomping of Carver.

In between, Dinkins gushed about Aidan Froelich, who had to wait until the second-to-last game to make his season debut because of injury.

At Reagan, turnovers spelled doom for the War Eagles, who fell behind 10-0 out of the gate. After trailing by 16, they climbed within six. But the turnovers kept piling up as Davie lost 70-55 on Jan. 28.

Dinkins knew it would be a difficult opponent. Reagan beat East Forsyth, and East beat Davie twice, including an ugly 61-26 decision in Davie’s previous game.

“I stopped counting when we hit 21 (turnovers) with 3:40 left in the third,” Dinkins said. “We were down six with the ball. Then we had three straight turnovers and they had three straight layups.”

The Raiders led by 12 after the first, by 14 at halftime and by 10 at the end of the third. Davie wound up allowing the most points of any game this season; the previous high was Atkins’ 66 in a 28-point loss to the Camels on Dec. 9.

“I hadn’t chewed on them all year, but I said: ‘Guys, we don’t play like this. We haven’t done it all year,’” he said.

Justin Hayes matched his season high with 16 points. Zeb Pilcher had 11, Hunter Davis 10, Willie Purvis seven, Brodie Smith five, Alex Juma four and Levi Miller two.

Davie 54, Carver 25

Some of the Reagan sting was eased by a home blowout in Davie’s final game of the season on Jan. 29. Davie devoured winless Carver (0-12) from the opening tip, leading by scores of 21-8, 31-10 and 47-18.

The War Eagles shared the sugar, with nine different guys cracking the scoring column. Davis had 10, Purvis nine, Smith eight, Froelich seven, Pilcher six, Hayes five, Miller four, Cade Shoemaker three and Juma two.

Davie banged nine 3-pointers. Smith and Pilcher drilled two each, with Davis, Purvis, Shoemaker, Hayes and Miller hitting one each.

“We shot the ball so well, as well as we have shot all year,” Dinkins said. “And in the first half we had (just) three turnovers.”

The veteran coach spoke glowingly of Froelich, who endured the agony of having to miss the first 11 games with a broken arm suffered in his first basketball practice following JV football season. He was released from the doctor Jan. 27 and suited up the next day at Reagan. During the long wait, he felt starved for a return to the hardwood.

“He came back last week with a brace and he could shoot free throws,” Dinkins said. “There wasn’t supposed to be any contact drills. I looked up one day and he’s going up the floor as hard as he could go. I said: ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. Come here. What is your momma going to do if she finds out?’ He said: ‘Well, I’m not going to tell her. Are you?’”

Froelich didn’t score at Reagan, but he attacked the hoop with ferocity against Carver and put in seven. He also played vigorous defense.

“He had a great game,” Dinkins said. “He came up with several steals. I could have used him all year. I was really surprised with his defense, and he made one heck of a drive where he had to change hands to get the ball over two defenders for a layup. I’m going: ‘Man, we missed you. We might have gotten a couple more wins with you.’”

And then: “Here’s a kid who hasn’t missed a practice. He’s been at every single practice. I sat him down last week and said: ‘OK, you’re coming back. Do you know the plays?’ He said: ‘Coach, I’ve got it all.’ He’s a great kid. He would have played a bunch for me. If he’ll stay with it, he’ll play on the varsity. He’s just that quick.”

The War Eagles finished 6-7. Dinkins wishes the season could keep going.

“Great season, great group of kids,” he said. “They not only made me a better coach, they made me a better person. And I think they had a good time.”

Notes: Jerry Phillips completed his 16th year as Dinkins’ scorekeeper. … Davis paced Davie’s scoring with a 13.6 average. Smith averaged 9, Hayes 8.2, Pilcher 8.1 and Purvis 5.4.