Varsity girls headed in the right direction

Published 9:42 am Thursday, February 17, 2022

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By Brian Pitts
Enterprise Record

Davie’s varsity girls basketball team went 9-53 the previous three seasons combined. Lindsey Adams’ second Davie squad ended the regular season at 9-13 after winning two of three last week. Let that sink in.
The War Eagles pulled out a ridiculous shootout, 70-63, at Parkland on Feb. 8. It was their most points in 138 games. It was the highest-scoring game in 207 games. And it was a triumph over adversity, with Davie experiencing severe foul trouble and facing a six-point deficit with less than five minutes to play.
“We faced adversity,” Adams said. “We faced things not going our way with calls. They just had to keep their composure. Parkland played hard and wanted to win on their Senior Night.”
A ton of fouls were called on both sides – 72 free throws were attempted between the teams – and three War Eagles (Kenadi Gentry, Malayka Rankin and London Dirks) had three fouls in the first quarter.
“My girls easily could have shut down so many times and used excuses of getting in foul trouble, which is what they would have done last year,” Adams said. “They’ve grown and matured mentally. They’re grinding it out and being more mature.”
Davie managed a 35-31 halftime lead thanks to 11-of-14 foul shooting.
In the third quarter, Davie staggered Parkland with a 9-0 run. Gentry assisted a Gracie Wilson inside bucket. After Rankin hit a pair at the line, Gentry scored on a drive. Rankin’s long pass led to a Somer Johnson layup and a 44-33 lead, at which point Parkland was 0 for 12 from the floor for the quarter.
But Justace Williams and the Mustangs turned the game with a vicious 27-10 run. They nailed 9 of 16 shots, including three 3-pointers, during that stretch, and Williams’ triple gave Parkland a 60-54 lead with 4:43 to go. To make matters worse for Davie, it missed two free throws at 4:31.
Williams was the largely responsible for Davie’s fourth-quarter hole. The sophomore point guard had a spectacular 30-point performance.
“She’s only about 5-2,” Adams said. “She’s smaller than any girl I have, but she was the fastest girl on the court. She blows by you.”
The War Eagles mounted a furious rally that was reminiscent of the one that gave them a 45-43 win at West Forsyth four days earlier.
The heroics came from Gentry, Keelyn Oakes, Rebecca Devericks and Johnson. Gentry scored on a drive, Oakes sank a 19-footer and Gentry hit two free throws to tie it at 60. After Parkland missed two from the line, Gentry shredded Parkland’s fullcourt man and hit Devericks, who picked the perfect time for her first bucket of the game, a tiebreaking score at 2:05.
Adams has several girls who don’t mind taking hard-nosed charges, and Oakes drew one with Davie nursing a 62-60 lead. Gentry milked some clock before passing to Oakes, who scored through contact to make it 64-60 at 1:09.
Williams answered for Parkland to cut Davie’s lead to 64-62 at :59, but Johnson countered with two free throws. After a Parkland turnover, Johnson assisted a Devericks layup to cement victory at 70-63.
Davie persevered by placing four scorers in double figures. Gentry had a terrific all-around game with 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Rankin delivered a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Oakes had 11 points. Johnson had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Rankin hit 4 of 5 field goals and left with a two-game total of 26 points and 17 rebounds. Oakes scored a season high by making her last four shots.
“Keelyn’s very unselfish,” Adams said. “She normally makes the extra pass instead of taking the shot herself. A lot of teams don’t think of her as a threat, so they help off of her. But if you leave her open, she can shoot if she feels the need to. She knew we needed shots. She’s so composed and laid-back, she knocks them down without any pressure on her.”
After averaging 2.3 points in her first six varsity games, freshman Nadelie Jones was a factor with nine points and seven rebounds.
“I’m so big on boxing out and she asked me how to box out being so little,” Adams said. “I said: ‘When you’re little and are not physically stronger than somebody, just weave your way around everybody else and go get it.’”
Notes: One difference was Davie’s 23 of 34 free-throw shooting. Gentry (10-16), Johnson (6-6) and Rankin (5-5) made 21 of them. By contrast, Parkland shot 44 percent from the line (17-38). … Parkland (6-14 overall) dropped its fourth straight. … It was most Davie points since a 75-26 rout of Parkland in January of 2016. … It was the highest-scoring game since a 75-66 win at North Davidson in 2012-13. … L. Dirks had five points and drew two charges. Devericks had four points. Wilson had two points, three rebounds and a blocked shot. … Peyton Spaugh returned from injury after missing seven games.
WF 60, Davie 45
A makeup game against visiting West Forsyth went less well for the War Eagles. Part of the problem was likely an emotional hangover one day after the hard-fought win at Parkland.
The Titans led by nine at halftime, by 17 at the end of the third and scored their most points in 15 games to avenge the two-point loss to Davie.
Davie’s points came from Johnson (12), Gentry (10), L. Dirks (nine), Jones (eight) and Rankin (six).
Davie 55, Glenn 42
L. Dirks and Johnson came through in a big moment as Davie buried the Bobcats on Senior Night on Feb. 11 and secured a home game in the first round of this week’s CPC Tournament.
Davie was missing leading-scorer Gentry (sick), but L. Dirks picked up the offensive slack with a career-high 21 points. She added four rebounds.
“I told them somebody has to step up,” Adams said. “I was super proud of London for being able to step up. I knew she had it in her, and I was excited for her to do that, especially with it being Senior Night (for L. Dirks and Kaylyn Nuckols).”
Johnson (16 points, six steals, four rebounds) turned in her most points in seven games to help Davie nail down sole possession of fourth in the eight-team Central Piedmont Conference. The junior converted 9 of 12 foul shots.
“Somer stepped up,” Adams said. “She is so long – I think she’s 5-9 – and she’s got a long wingspan and she’s able to get in the passing lanes and get deflections or steals.”
Adams got contributions up and down the lineup. Rankin (five points, 11 rebounds, three steals), Devericks (five points), Jones (four points), Sydney Dirks (two points), Spaugh (two points, five steals, four rebounds), Nuckols (four rebounds) and Oakes (three assists) all contributed.
“In the second half, Rebecca’s defense shut down the only girl that was scoring (for Glenn),” Adams said. “That really helped us.”
Notes: East Forsyth and Reagan shared the regular-season title at 12-2. Reynolds (11-3), Davie (7-7), West Forsyth (6-7), Parkland (3-11), Glenn (2-11) and Mt. Tabor (2-12) round out the standings. … Davie’s top three scorers are Gentry (12.3 average), Johnson (9.5) and L. Dirks (6.5).