Maddox, Hudson score 20 each as new coach wins debut
Published 9:09 am Thursday, December 2, 2021
By Brian Pitts
In Bruce Wallace’s first game as the Davie boys’ head coach, West Wilkes greeted him with an early flurry of 3-pointers, the Blackhawks drained four of their first six shots and halfway through the first quarter it was an 11-11 game.
Then it was like that time you squirted lighter fluid on that small flame in your charcoal grill. West lost its eyebrows, visiting Davie exploded to a 26-13 lead and never looked back on the way to a 77-45 rout on Nov. 23.
Wallace’s debut resulted in Davie’s highest point total in 27 games. (Davie beat East Rowan 77-68 in the Sam Moir tournament’s third-place game in December of 2019.) And Davie had two 20-point scorers (Za’Haree Maddox and Zymere Hudson) for the first time since Owen McCormack’s 25 and Michael Walton’s 21 in an 82-64 win at West Forsyth in January of 2018.
The Blackhawks lost by 32 despite shooting 53 percent from the field, despite knocking down 7 of 17 3-point shots. Their problem: They couldn’t find shots against Davie’s fullcourt man, with the War Eagles nearly making as many field goals (28) and West attempted (30).
Led by Maddox’s quick hands, Davie collected 19 steals. Most of them led to transition opportunities, and Davie put on a show in the open floor.
“Our athleticism and ability to run in transition (were the main keys),” Wallace said.
Maddox, who has enjoyed three 28-point games and seven 20-point outings in his varsity career, didn’t do anything we haven’t seen before while piling up 20 points, seven steals, six assists and four rebounds.
“And he had five or six deflections, too,” Wallace said.
Hudson flourished in his first game as the No. 2 scoring option. He also had 20 – topping his previous varsity high by six and exceeding his junior average by roughly 11 – while nailing 8 of 11 field goals and adding four steals.
The game’s first bucket was a corner 3 by Hudson. That was followed by one of several beautiful fast breaks. Coleman Lawhon got a steal and passed to Blake Walser, who hit a streaking Hudson for two. Moments later, Maddox made a long pass to Lawhon, who caught it and dished it in one motion to Hudson, who finished the break. Then Hudson made a runner.
But at that point, West was hanging with Davie. Then it was suddenly a rout. Maddox drained a 3. Hudson got a steal and went the other way for a layup. Maddox grabbed his own miss and found Hudson, who made a 3. A Maddox triple capped a 15-2 run that produced the 26-13 lead.
The fast breaks kept coming. Maddox poked the ball away from behind, and Jackson Powers gathered the loose ball and immediately gave it to Maddox, who threw a long bounce pass to Alex Summers, who finished with a layup.
After Davie jogged to the locker room with a 36-20 lead, it put together perhaps the nicest play of the game in the third quarter. Two War Eagles trapped a ball handler around midcourt. Hudson stole the pass and hit Maddox. Maddox sped downcourt and passed to a trailing Tate Carney. Carney switched to his left hand, was fouled and scored.
Davie completely broke West’s back in the third, scoring 22 of 27 points. The tone-setter for everything was Hudson, who erupted for 13 first-quarter points.
“He didn’t even play late in the game,” Wallace said. “He could have definitely had 30 points. I’ve tried telling people he can shoot it.”
Caleb Earnhardt had eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. He made 2 of 3 shots from long range. “Caleb played really good,” Wallace said.
Summers had five points, five assists and two steals. Davie got five points from both Lawhon and Carney, who only attempted two shots and made both.
“Alex played pretty good,” he said. “He didn’t shoot the ball (much). Za’Haree actually had to yell at him to shoot the ball on the made 3 he had. He needs to shoot it more, but he took care of the ball.”
Walser and Landon King had four points each. King, a freshman who made 2 of 3 field goals, also contributed five rebounds and three assists. Hunter Davis, Powers and Max Junker had two points apiece, with Powers, a 6-5, 235-pound freshman, adding five boards in his high school debut.
“Landon was probably the most impressive player on film that I didn’t realize from the game,” Wallace said. “He was all over the place. On defense he was really good. That was the biggest surprise in the game.”
It was obviously a memorable moment for Wallace. What made it all the sweeter was seeing Mike Absher in the stands. One day after going to watch son Davis Absher’s head-coaching debut at Ashe County, the Davie boys’ all-time winningest coach rode to Millers Creek to support his former assistant.
“Shane (Nixon, assistant coach) got me a basketball and the kids signed it,” Wallace said. “Mike signed it too. It was pretty cool.”
Notes: Davie converted 28 of 53 field goals and 9 of 23 3s. … The Blackhawks hit their last six shots during a 20-point fourth. … Davie played without a key guy in Jake Powers. … Davie plays three games in four days this week. “It only gets harder from here,” Wallace said.