Boys win on senior night

Published 11:02 am Thursday, February 20, 2020

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The Davie varsity boys basketball team was in a tailspin after losing to West Forsyth, Reynolds and Glenn, three Central Piedmont Conference setbacks in a span of four days dropping Davie from a tie for second to a three-way tie for third.

Then came a home date against East Forsyth. East won the first meeting 53-37, when Davie only managed six first-half points and offered little resistance.

In other words, it was a circle-the-wagons sort of game when Davie hosted East on Senior Night on Feb. 11. Coach Mike Absher’s scrappy War Eagles played with a sense of urgency and pulled out a teeth-clenching 62-54 victory in the final home games for Brooks Johnson, Matt James, James Reid, Zach Smith and Justice Redmon.

It was good for the psyche as Davie assumed sole possession of third with one regular-season game to go. Reynolds (8-1) locked up its first regular-season championship since 2007. Glenn (6-3) nailed down second, followed by Davie (4-5). The night left East, Reagan and West Forsyth tied for fourth at 3-6.

The win produced a big achievement for this team. At 13-9 overall, Davie is assured of a third straight winning season. It is 55-21 during that stretch.

“I couldn’t be prouder of them to bounce back from the losing streak,” Absher said. “There was a lot of toughness out there.”

Davie built a 32-23 lead at the 5:45 mark of the third quarter. After starting 9 of 27 from the floor, East got back in contention with a 7-of-9 shooting spree, and Davie’s lead had been shaved to 43-42 entering the fourth.

James, a deep reserve as a senior, rose to the occasion with a 3-pointer that provided a 48-44 lead. East had four shots on one possession and finally converted to tie the game at 48. Redmon answered with a tiebreaking 3, the second trey in less than two minutes that was assisted by Za’Haree Maddox. Johnson scored on a tip rebound. East got within 53-50, but Iverson King stole a pass and went down the court for two. East missed three shots on the next trip down. Johnson tapped the rebound out and King grabbed it. A fast break ensued. Maddox finished with a double-clutch layup with a defender draped on him. It was 57-50.

Davie beat the East press and Maddox hit a floater to make it 59-52. When East was within 59-54, Redmon yanked down two defensive rebounds. Maddox cemented the outcome by making 3 of 4 free throws in the waning moments.

Johnson, who came in averaging a team-high 15 points, had a tough offensive night with a season-low two. His teammates, though, picked up the slack.

Maddox, who had 24 and 19 points in the previous two games, just kept on going with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds. He has been splendid at the free-throw line, this time making 6 of 7.

Reid (12 points, six rebounds, two blocks) delivered his biggest scoring effort in 15 games. King (nine points, four rebounds, three blocks, two assists) turned in his most points in eight games while hitting 4 of 6 field goals. James had a season-high six points, four rebounds and two steals while draining 2 of 3 3s. Redmon (six points, four rebounds, two steals) tried two 3s and splashed both. Avery Taylor had a season-high five points. Smith  contributed two points, a team-high 10 boards and three blocks. Luke Williams had two points. Johnson had two points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

“I’m really proud of Matt to get that opportunity and take advantage of it,” Absher said. “He made a huge 3 in the fourth quarter.

“Zach played really, really well (in the previous game) at Glenn, and he followed it up with another great effort. He’s gotten so much better throughout the year. He was a warrior on the boards. In the last three games, we’ve done a great job of finally getting some offensive rebounds, and Zach’s been a huge part of that.

“Reid played really tough. Once he became aggressive in the fourth, that was big.

“Justice stepped right into that 3 in the fourth. To see him playing with confidence again is really encouraging. Sometimes those Senior Nights don’t go well. To see those guys hit shots, I’m really happy for all those guys. They deserved to go out at home like that.”

Notes: East (5-17) is 0-5 since the win over Davie on Jan. 23. … Davie found a way despite shooting 33 percent from the field (22-65). … East converted 23 of 44 two-pointers, but it missed 17 of 18 3s.