Spaugh a thief as varsity girls destroy West Wilkes

Published 8:53 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie varsity girls basketball team showed its upside and downside in a pair of home nonconference games last week.

The War Eagles destroyed West Wilkes by 49 points on Nov. 29. One day later, they were dismantled by 52 points by unbeaten West Rowan.

In the 57-8 win over West Wilkes, Peyton Spaugh and Malayka Rankin further solidified their credentials as defensive warriors.

Spaugh, a junior guard, plays with her hair on fire and tries to squeeze the life out of opposing ball handlers. She was two buckets from a triple-double as she accumulated six points, 11 steals and 10 rebounds. She had five steals in the first quarter alone. She pulled down three rebounds in one second-quarter possession.

Most opponents who are forced to deal with Spaugh wind up shaking their head in frustration, and Spaugh broke a Blackhawk’s spirit at the end of that three-rebound possession. When Spaugh wrestled away the third rebound, the Blackhawk who lost the battle gave Spaugh a two-hand shove in the back, resulting in an intentional foul and two free throws for Spaugh.

“When we go one-on-one or do a defensive drill, Peyton is on the opposite team of the other guards because I feel like she’s the best on-ball defender in our conference,” coach Lindsey Adams said. “If you can practice against her everyday, you can handle the on-ball pressure from other teams. She has no off speed. When she steps on the court, she’s ready to go.”

Later in the second quarter, Spaugh was on the left wing when Davie fired a shot. The miss caromed to the opposite side of the court. Spaugh chased down the rebound all the way over on the right wing. Then she promptly assisted a Bailey Aderhold 3-pointer.

When the first half ended, Spaugh had eight rebounds, eight steals and two assists. Her scoring numbers will seldom capture the impact she has on a game. She scored six points against West Wilkes on five shot attempts, so she was efficient in that area as well.

Spaugh relishes being a defensive hornet.

“That’s my favorite thing,” she said. “It just comes easy to me. I like to take the ball from people and make them angry. It makes it easier on everybody else because they start fouling more. I’ve always been good at defense. I’ve gotten better at shooting, but it’s still not where I want it.”

Rankin is another junior who plays with boundless energy. Her line for the game was typical: six points, seven steals, four rebounds.

“Her on-ball pressure may not be (at Spaugh’s level), but she anticipates passes, rebounds and is able to push the ball out,” Adams said. “That’s how we’re able to play so fast.”

Aderhold, who has shown a lot of promise in becoming a perimeter sniper in the not-too-distant future, had a breakout game with 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range – this after scoring a total of two points in the first two games. The freshman nailed a triple just seconds after checking into the game in the first quarter.

“Bailey has shown me that since the summer when we went to Liberty,” Adams said. “She had not hit a 3 going into this game. Yesterday and today, we talked about settling, handling the atmosphere around you and still knocking it down. She’s lights out in practice, but we hadn’t been able to see it in a game. But I think she’s getting in her comfort zone.”

Davie’s proven shooter, senior Somer Johnson, continued her strong start with her third straight double-figure scoring game. Like Aderhold, Johnson scored 11 points by hitting 3 of 6 3s. She also had four steals, three assists and two blocks. Johnson had eight points in a first quarter that saw Davie hit 8 of 13 shots and carve out a 23-2 lead.

Sydney Dirks had eight points. Kenadi Gentry had eight points, four rebounds and two steals in her junior debut after missing the first two games. Keelyn Oakes had five points. Lauren Colamarino had two points and seven boards.

“When teams are pressuring us, Kenadi will run point,” Adams said. “When teams are not, Peyton runs point and gets Kenadi in a position to score. She’s another scoring threat and ball handler.”

In the first half, Oakes contributed to Davie’s defensive clinic by taking two charges in less than a minute.

“We have a toughness drill where you have to be on help-side defense, slide over and take a charge,” Adams said. “I roll the ball to the other end of the court. They have to dive on the floor after it, and then they have to make the layup. If they miss the layup, they have to go back in the drill. You have to do all of those correctly to get out of the drill. Other than that, I keep screaming, ‘beat them to the spot and take the charge,’ because we’re not shot blockers.”

The War Eagles, who led 35-2 at halftime and 46-6 after the third, romped to their largest win in seven years. (In 2015-16, they beat Parkland 75-26.) Fittingly, the margin was 49 over W. Wilkes, which beat Davie by 49 in 2019-20. Johnson, Dirks and Oakes were varsity freshmen when Davie absorbed a 68-19 beating from the Blackhawks.

“My girls have never beaten a team like that,” Adams said. “My first year, I told them we’re going to be on the other side. We’re going to get running clocks. They had never been able to experience that side (of a running clock).”

Notes: Davie improved to 2-1, while W. Wilkes fell to 0-2. … Starmount beat West 69-52. … Spaugh doubles as a competition cheerleader. “Some days I’m doing basketball from 3:45-5:45 and then go straight to cheerleading from 7-9,” she said. “I don’t really rest some days.”

WR 77, Davie 25

The War Eagles won’t play anyone equal to what they saw on Nov. 30. West Rowan has stars galore.

The Falcons, who are 3-0 this year after going 77-28 over the past four full seasons, led 20-6, 52-12 and 68-21 at the end of the first three quarters.

Davie is on the right track, but the Falcons have overwhelming talent. Five of their players have scored 20-plus points in a varsity game. They returned the top seven players from a year ago; plus they picked up a transfer from Salisbury. They won their first two games by 38- and 25-point margins and they have the 3-A title in their sights.

Davie’s points came from Gentry (six), Rankin (six), Aderhold (five), Dirks (four), Colamarino (three) and Johnson (one).