Middle school basketball teams have success prior to break

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Noah Dulin and Draeton Nance are averaging 38 points a game between them, the South Davie boys basketball team dealt three thrashings and entered the holidays on a six-game winning streak.

The first beatdown came on the road on Dec. 7. Cameron Knox and Dulin set the tone in a 23-6 first quarter and the Tigers beat Canterbury 49-18. Dulin finished with 12 points, followed by Knox with 11, Nance nine, Jayden Warren eight, Ean Click four, Owen Parker three and Anderson Branham two.

SD 57, Summit 27

Five days later, the Tigers picked up where they left off against visiting Summit. Dulin and Nance came out smoking as South sprinted to a 24-7 lead, and the result was a 30-point stomping. Dulin (18) and Nance (16) easily outscored the Eagles by themselves. Knox had eight, Branham five, William Martin four, Warren four and Luke Foster two.

SD 53, Phoenix 27

There was yet another crushing victory over visiting Phoenix Academy on Dec. 15. In the third quarter, the Tigers (6-2) extended a 35-22 lead to 53-27.

Nance (21 points) and Dulin (16) were dominant as usual. Also scoring were Knox (six), Foster (four), Warren (two), Camdyn Holland (two) and Martin (two).

The margins in South’s winning streak have been 43, 31, 74, 31, 30 and 26 points. Dulin and Nance are averaging 20.8 and 17.5 points, respectively.

Ellis 50, NCLA 22

Coming off its first loss, Ellis unloaded on a subpar opponent on Dec. 12, belting North Carolina Leadership Academy.

The Jaguars scored 29 of 31 points in the second quarter, with Ben Reid and Braxton Bowling doing the bulk of the damage, to carry a 46-9 lead into the break.

Bowling (14), Reid (13, three 3-pointers) and Aiden Horton (13) all scored in double figures. Brandon Forrest added five, Max Cornatzer three and Cannon Smith two as Ellis notched its fifth win by 28-plus points.

Ellis 63, WCA 43

The Jaguars were missing their No. 2 scorer – Reid, who averages 11.8, was out sick – against visiting Wesleyan Christian Academy on Dec. 15. But ultimately it hardly mattered because of terrific efforts from Bowling, Forrest and Horton.

The Trojans looked capable of winning at halftime, when it was 25-25.

“In the first half, we came out pretty shaky,” coach Daniel York said.

The second half, though, was all Ellis. Bowling spearheaded a 17-10 surge in the third, and Bowling, Forrest and J’sierre Arnold led a 21-point fourth as the Jaguars (7-1) reached their most wins in five seasons with nearly half the season to go. “

“I’m very proud of the way we played,” York said. “We turned the intensity up on the defensive end. We were giving up too many baskets (in the first half), and also we weren’t getting back in transition. The little things will come back and bite you.”

While Bowling had a typical game with 22 points (he averages 20.2), Forrest and Horton stepped up to offset Reid’s absence. Forrest scored a season-high 18, which was 10 above his average.

“I told Brandon at halftime: ‘We want to play in the passing lane and get steals. They’re making the closest pass possible; they’re not looking at any skip passes. Cheat up a little,’” York said. “In the third quarter, I believe Brandon got three or four steals and ran the floor. Braxton was doing the same thing.”

Horton converted 7 of 10 free throws on the way to 13 points.

“Aiden hit a big 3 at the beginning of the game,” York said. “He’s a vocal leader on the court, so his presence on the floor and leadership help a lot. He has great floor vision. He knows how to space the floor and move the ball at a good pace. Having him there has helped us tremendously all year.”

Colin Harrison, who returned after missing five games with an injury, replaced Reid in the starting lineup. Arnold saw extra minutes as well. Both contributed four points. Weston Barefoot had two.

“J’sierre stepped up in big ways for us,” York said. “He definitely stepped up in helping out with rebounding, and he definitely gave us a presence in the paint.”

ND 40, Canterbury 30

Edarius Oliver (16 points) hit double figures for the fifth time in six games, Blake French had a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) and North Davie took down the visiting Cougars on Dec. 13.

The Wildcats delivered the knockout blow in the third quarter, outscoring Canterbury 10-2 to open up a 28-14 lead.

“A big win for us,” coach Trevor Gooch said. “We played really well defensively, especially in the second and third quarters. Edarius is our force man and sparkplug on offense. In transition, he did a great job of finishing around the basket. Blake keeps getting better, especially with rebounds and points in the paint.”

Ty Greene scored six on a pair of 3s, Will Carter had four points and five assists, and Wade Ridenhour and Carter Cornett chipped in two points each.

“Will is really improving as a point guard and floor leader,” Gooch said.

ND 49, Summit 43

On Dec. 1, the Wildcats were 1-2 with 29- and 31-point losses. But look now: They ended the pre-Christmas schedule with four consecutive wins.

They won a crazy game on the road on Dec. 15. North led 15-3 after the first quarter, 31-12 at halftime and 40-24 after the third. The Wildcats looked destined for an easy victory. But in a dizzying turnaround, the Eagles had a 43-42 lead with 1:21 to play. North nearly fell off a cliff during the Eagles’ 18-3 run in the fourth.

“They got hot and we went cold,” Gooch said. “But we were able to weather the storm.”

Greene and Oliver made the difference at winning time. With a minute remaining, Greene drilled a 3-pointer that gave North a 45-43 lead. Then Oliver hit two free throws. Carter and French hit one free throw each for good measure.

North (5-2) got its points from Oliver (11), Greene (10), French (eight), Cornett (six), Carter (five), Nolan Allen (five) and Reynolds Tomlinson (four).