9th grade boys basketball shocks Tabor

Published 9:16 am Thursday, February 4, 2021

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When the Davie freshman boys basketball team traveled to Mt. Tabor on Jan. 22, the Spartans seemed to be in a different class. They breezed to 61-44 victory.

Davie traveled to Tabor again five days later. Remarkably, the War Eagles won 51-48. It was the most surprising and joyous win for coach Mike Dinkins in recent memory.

“One of the bigger ones,” he said. “We weathered the storm when I didn’t think we were going to weather it.”

After winning the first two games by 25 and 21 points, the War Eagles were humbled at Tabor in the first meeting. They trailed by 11, 16 and 18 at the end of the quarters.

“They had one player we couldn’t stop,” he said. “If he missed, he got his own rebound and scored.”

Cooper Bliss had 12 points, Gavin Williams 10, Eli Branham seven, Jason Hawks five, Ty Matthews four, Will Allard three, Trey’von Doulin two and CJ Phelps one.

Watauga 53, Davie 50

The Pioneers exploded for 26 points in the third and turned Davie’s 24-23 halftime lead into a 49-34 spread. It absolutely seemed over when they held a 12-point lead with 3:46 to play.

It was far from over. The War Eagles made a furious rally and got within one. Twice they had the ball down one. They fell just short in Boone on Jan. 23.

“We had a heartbreaker,” Dinkins said after the second loss in as many days.

Bliss hit two 3s during Davie’s 16-4 run in the fourth. Williams added five as Davie held Watauga to zero field goals in the fourth.

“Bliss brought us back,” he said. “I couldn’t have been prouder of the kids. Watauga is a big, strong team.”

Williams’ 20 went for naught. Bliss had 12, Branham eight and Hawks five. Evan Froelich and Matthews had two each and Phelps one.

Davie 51, Tabor 48

Davie’s man-to-man defense got shredded in the first meeting. Dinkins brought a different game plan to Winston-Salem on Jan. 27. It worked wonders.

It was 7-7 after the first quarter; Davie trailed by nine at that point in the first meeting. It was 24-17 Tabor at halftime; Davie was behind by 16 at intermission five days earlier. Davie had a 36-35 lead after the third; it was down by 18 at that juncture the first time around.

“We went strictly to a 2-3 zone,” he said. “We still ran our traps out of it, but it was basically a packed-in zone.”

It was another terrific effort by Williams, a 6-2 center who scored 10 of Davie’s 19 points in the big third. Branham added five as Davie outscored Tabor by eight in the quarter.

The lead changed hands at least seven times in the last 2:20, Dinkins said after Davie improved to 3-2. Williams poured in 22, lifting his season average to 20, or 38 percent of Davie’s average output.

But the upset wasn’t all Williams’ doing. Matthews saved all seven of his points for the fourth and Bliss had five at money time.

Bliss finished with nine. Branham had six. Hawks and Phelps had three each and Doulin one. Bliss is No. 2 on the team with a 9.6 average.

“If I had to give game balls out, I’d have to give two,” he said. “Ty had a great fourth quarter. (Besides the seven points), he made some big plays on the defensive end. CJ only scored three, but he ended up having eight rebounds. He knows his role. I said to him: ‘Gavin’s got four (fouls). I’ve got to sit him down.’ Gavin sat for six minutes and we weathered the storm.”