Boys basketball earns playoff berth

Published 9:02 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

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By Brian Pitts
Enterprise Record

The Davie boys basketball team fell at Mt. Tabor, 53-47, in the first round of the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament on Feb. 14, but it could have been a different story. Twice in the final 71 seconds, Tabor missed the front end of a one-and-one. Twice, it corralled the rebound and capitalized on the extra possession.
“We had an opportunity to win the game and that’s all you could ask for as a coach,” coach Bruce Wallace said after sixth-seeded Davie lost for the first time in four games. “We just had a few key plays that didn’t go our way.”
The good news: the War Eagles squeaked into the 4-A playoffs as the No. 27 seed in the 32-team West Region. Davie played at league rival East Forsyth in the first round on Feb. 22.
The Spartans, seeded third in the CPC, raced to a 12-4 lead, but Zymere Hudson and Jake Powers buried triples as Davie fought back to a 12-12 tie even though leading scorer Za’haree Maddox did not attempt a field goal in the first quarter.
It was a game of runs all night. Tabor capped a 10-0 burst with a dunk. Davie scored the last six points of the half. Blake Walser scored off an offensive rebound. Maddox hit a runner in transition. Maddox got a steal and dished ahead to Hudson as Davie trimmed Tabor’s halftime lead to 27-22.
“Za’haree got some steals that got us going, and Zymere was the best player on the floor for either team,” Wallace said.
Davie opened the third with a 10-4 run. Maddox scored after stealing a pass. Walser posted up and hit a jump hook. Then Powers hit back-to-back 3s to give Davie a 32-31 lead.
Hudson (14 points, four rebounds, two steals) and Maddox 11 points, five assists and three steals) were Davie’s top scorers, as usual, but it doesn’t have a chance to upset Tabor without Powers, who converted 3 of 6 3s to go with five rebounds and three assists.
“Jake hit some big 3s and our transition was good,” Wallace said. “Let’s hope Jake can continue that in the playoffs. That makes us that much better.”
The teams continued to steal the momentum from each other. Tabor’s 8-0 run opened up a 39-32 lead for the hosts. Davie’s answer: six straight points to end the third. Maddox scored on a drive. Hudson got a defensive board and threw ahead to Tate Carney, who scored. On an inbounds play, Maddox found a cutting Hudson as Davie hit its last five shots in the quarter to pull within 39-38. Meanwhile, Tabor went 1 of 7 from 3-point territory in the third.
Tabor surged to a 44-38 lead, but Davie didn’t fold. When Carney’s 3-pointer rolled in, it was 44-41 Tabor with 4:45 to play.
Davie missed an easy opportunity when it was 46-41, but Maddox assisted a Hudson bucket in transition and a Walser steal led to a Maddox/Hudson fast break as Davie closed within 46-45 at 2:02.
“We beat them once and fought toe-to-toe with them twice,” Wallace said. “So there’s nothing our guys can hang their heads about. They took it to them and played hard. I’m happy with them.”
Now it was time for big free throws. Tabor hit the first and missed the second – but the rebound wound up in Tabor hands. Davie had to foul and this time Tabor converted both to make it 49-45 at 1:11.
Davie added to the drama on an inbounds play, with Jake passing to Maddox, who scored in traffic to make it 49-47 at :45.
Davie fouled and Tabor missed the front end. But again, Tabor got the rebound, went back to the line and hit both for a 51-47 lead. When Davie missed the front end of a one-and-one at the other end, its comeback hopes were over.
“We had a chance to get the ball back down by two and tie it, and we didn’t get the rebound,” Wallace lamented.
Notes: Walser contributed eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Carney had five points on two shot attempts. … Davie (13-10) and Tabor (16-8) met for the third time. They split in the regular season, with Tabor winning 52-45 and Davie winning 58-54. … Maddox was held about eight points below his average, and Davie scored its fewest points in six games. … Davie outshot Tabor (44 percent to 35), but Tabor outscored Davie by 12 at the foul line. … The other first-round scores: No. 1 East Forsyth 73-41 over No. 8 Parkland; No. 5 Reynolds 58-44 over No. 4 Reagan; and No. 7 West Forsyth 51-46 over No. 2 Glenn. In the semifinals, Tabor won 58-52 over West and Reynolds won 67-45 over East. In the final, Tabor beat Reynolds 67-63 in overtime. … Six of the eight CPC teams made the 4-A playoffs. Besides Davie and No. 6 East, there’s No. 16 Glenn, No. 18 Tabor, No. 23 Reynolds and No. 29 Reagan.