Varsity boys win big, lost in OT

Published 9:22 am Thursday, February 4, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Coach Mike Absher has seen everything a dozen times, but he hadn’t seen anything quite like this.

The Davie varsity boys basketball team beat, mashed and destroyed visiting West Forsyth 72-48 on Jan. 27, and it put up 72 with only one player – Jake Powers – scoring in double figures. Twelve players scored between two and eight. That’s absurd balance.

“I’ve been coaching basketball 37 years and that’s amazing,” Absher said. “It speaks to their unselfishness and willingness to share the ball. That’s a coach’s dream right there. It shows we truly have a bunch of different guys who can score.”

The first half, in particular, was a work of art on both ends of the court. Davie went on a 9-0 run with Zymere Hudson hitting a fast-break layup on a pass from Luke Williams; Za’Haree Maddox hitting a 3-pointer; Williams turning a steal into a layup; and Hudson scoring in transition.

There was another 9-0 run in which Justus Tatum sank a catch-and-shoot 3; followed by a Powers triple; Summers tapping a rebound to Blake Walser, resulting in a rebound/assist in one motion; Maddox forcing a turnover that led to a Tate Carney layup; and Maddox orchestrating a three-on-one break and assisting a Carney basket.

Later in the half, Summers and Carney splashed 3s. Hudson got a steal in the fullcourt press and bounced it to Summers for an easy two. Avery Taylor rebounded a West miss and passed to Hudson, who was roughly 90 feet from the Davie basket. Five dribbles later, Hudson was laying it in the hoop. Taylor rebounded his own miss, his eighth board of the half, and scored. Williams canned a 3 to cap a 43-18 clinic in the first half.

The War Eagles shot a torrid 52 percent (18 of 34) in the half, including 7 of 15 accuracy from beyond the arc. They put up 72 despite only attempting two free throws all night. (Meanwhile, the Titans missed 19 of 25 first-half shots.)

And it’s not like Davie was playing a flimsy foe. Although West fell to 2-5, it lost 55-47 to Reynolds and 45-43 to East forsyth. Reynolds had beaten Davie 53-42 and Davie had shaved East 74-72.

About the lack of free-throw opportunities: Who needs foul shots when you’re hitting 13 of 24 3s?

“I know it’s cliche, but that was a great team performance,” Absher said.

Powers was the top man with 11 points. He hit 4 of 5 field goals and 3 of 4 3s and added four rebounds.

“He can shoot the ball, there’s no question,” Absher said. “We wanted him to become a better rebounder, which he has. He’s one of those guys who’s gotten better each game.”

Williams had eight points and three assists. Hudson had eight points, three assists and three steals. Carney only needed four shots to score seven points. Taylor had six points and 12 rebounds. Maddox had six points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Tatum  and Walser (three assists) had six points each. Summers had five, Ryan Walton four, JT Bumgarner three and Zy’mier Lewis two. Lewis also had five boards.

“Our bench is getting deeper,” he said after Davie defeated West for the seventh time in eight meetings.

Reynolds 66, Davie 62 (OT)

Maddox penetrating the defense is cotton candy and fireworks and a band playing all at once. The junior point guard did a lot of penetrating in the first quarter against visiting Reynolds on Jan. 29. When he wasn’t slicing past his man, he was stepping out and draining 3s.

When the first quarter ended, it was Maddox 16, Reynolds 8. He made 5 of 7 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws in the eight-minute blitz. He was on pace for (gulp) 64 points.

“His quickness and ability to create took over,” Absher said.

Unfortunately for Davie, Reynolds’ switch to a zone cooled Maddox for a little while and his dazzling night was not enough in the end. He finished with 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds in hard-fought defeat. He made 9 of 18 field goals and 3 of 6 3s.

Absher beamed at his boys for going the distance – and then some – with an 8-1 opponent.

“I am honored to lead them,” he said. “They’re a dream to coach.”

Davie had a woeful second quarter, its only points coming on two Williams free throws with 1:55 left in the half. Davie missed all 11 field goals, including eight tries from deep. The 20-8 first-quarter lead was flipped to 27-22 in Reynolds’ favor.

“They switched to a zone,” he said. “We had some really good possessions. We just missed shots.”

Davie faced a 52-45 deficit with 3:40 remaining when Absher called timeout. His team responded with an 11-4 burst. Taylor scored inside. Hudson drained a 3. After a Taylor defensive rebound, Maddox buried a triple for a 54-53 lead at :50. Down 55-54, Davie missed a 3 and fouled at :04.2. Reynolds made one to make it 56-54, and Davie had to go the length of the court in a hurry. Tatum inbounded to Maddox, who flew down the court and tried a runner from 15 feet. He crashed chest-first to the floor. A whistle blew. Foul with less than a second on the clock.

Maddox made both foul shots to force overtime. Talk about coming through under pressure.

“Some people want the ball at the end of the game, and there’s some that quite honestly don’t,” Absher said. “He’s one of those kids who wants the ball. I mean he thrives on that.”

Reynolds quickly regained the momentum in OT. Maddox scored three more times, accounting for all six Davie points in the extra session. He cut the deficit to 64-62 at :35, but a Demon converted both free throws at :11 to clinch it.

Maddox matched his varsity career high in points and left the court with 48 points across two matchups with the Demons.

“At halftime, we made a couple of adjustments on how to attack the zone,” Absher said. “Our energy and effort in the second half was amazing. To battle back and have a chance to win the game speaks tremendously to the overall effort of our guys. We got stops in the fourth. I was really proud of how we stood up to them defensively.”

Tatum’s transformation from bit part in 2019-20 to starting-lineup contributor in 2021 has been one of the stories of the season. He scored a career-high 10 by making 3 of 6 3s. Williams had nine points. Taylor had eight points and five boards. Hudson had five points and three assists. Lewis had two points. Although Powers did not score, he pulled down six boards.

“It’s so fulfilling to see a kid who had a limited role last year, and now Justus is making three 3s in a half and bringing us back in big-time games,” Absher said. “It’s great to see a kid who’s put in the time and see it pay off for him the way it has. I mean he’s a dream to coach.”

Notes: Davie fell to 4-2 with its fifth straight loss to Reynolds. … The Central Piedmont Conference standings: Glenn 4-0, Reynolds 5-1, Davie 2-2, East Forsyth 3-3, West Forsyth 1-5 and Reagan 0-4. … Maddox is averaging 16 points per game. Hudson is at 9, Williams 7.8, Taylor 6.5 and Tatum 6.