West subdues Davie, overflow crowd

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The West Forsyth trio of Jacari Brim, AJ Baskerville and Cam White hit big shot after huge shot after are-you-kidding-me shot and proved too much for the Davie varsity boys basketball team in another knockdown, drag-out game in the rugged Central Piedmont Conference on Feb. 3.

The Titan tandem combined for 51 points and 11 3-pointers and carried the visitors to a 66-56 win.

Brim was the first Davie opponent to strike. He nailed three 3s in the first quarter to put Davie in a 17-8 hole. While Brim was balling out, Davie was missing nine of 12 shots and lacking energy.

“It was a big game and in big games your energy has to be up,” coach Josh Pittman said. “You’ve got to match their energy and be disciplined and focussed. One of the things we’ve tried to navigate through all year is starting the game with energy and not having to address it in the locker room.”

It became an entertaining game once Davie was awakened by Braddock Coleman’s triple in the second quarter. That triggered a 14-5 run. Elliott Erlandsson followed with a 3. Coleman stole a pass and assisted a Burke Rosenbaum layup. After Brim hit his fourth 3 of the half, Rosenbaum answered with a bomb. On a fast break, Erlandsson fed Rosenbaum for two to tie the score at 22. Davie hit five straight shots during the comeback.

But White sank back-to-back 3s as the Titans headed to halftime with a 35-27 lead. Both teams hit 6 of 14 shots from the arc in the half. Davie’s top two scorers, Jackson Powers and Coleman Lawhon, only managed three combined points in the first two quarters, but Davie was within striking distance because of Rosenbaum’s terrific second quarter (12 points on 5-of-7 shooting).

In the third, it was Baskerville’s turn to burn Davie. He knocked down three triples as West carved out a 42-31 lead.

Brim, a 6-1 sophomore, finished with 21 points. Baskerville, a 6-4 senior, had 19. White, a 5-10 junior, had 11. Nobody else for West had more than six.

“I can live with some of the shots they made,” Pittman said. “Those were just athletic basketball shots. You can’t defend everything, but when we do defend well, we have to do better with defensive rebounds and physical defense. We’ve got to step up to pressure defense.”

After facing the 42-31 deficit, the War Eagles provided the Davie faithful some hope as it responded with a 15-5 charge. Powers scored inside, Lawhon drilled a 3 and Ian Koontz finished a fast break. After Powers hit two free throws, Koontz produced a three-point play off an offensive board. Powers snatched a defensive rebound and threw a long outlet to Coleman, who was wide open with the third-quarter clock nearing zeroes. He banged the 3, eliciting a huge roar from the crowd, to cut West’s lead to 47-46.

“Burke played well and tried to stay aggressive,” Pittman said. “Jackson always hustles and plays hard. Braddock came in and gave us some solid minutes and some energy. He’s just got to maintain his emotions, but he’s just a sophomore.”

Lawhon was fouled on a 3-point try, hit two and pulled Davie within 52-50. At this point, Davie was shooting 50 percent for the half and feeding off the overflow crowd.

The Titans, though, were unfazed. They closed the game with a 14-6 run as Davie missed 11 of its last 13 shots.

“It’s a rollercoaster, but we’re always in the game,” Pittman said. “I’ll take that all day as opposed to being obliterated. After Mt. Tabor (a blowout loss earlier in the week), we came back here and responded. That’s what I wanted to see. I wanted us to show up. This thing (Central Piedmont Conference) is like the ACC. This conference is real.”

Rosenbaum finished with 14 points, two assists and took a charge. Lawhon had 10 points. Hayden Williams had eight points and six rebounds. Powers had seven points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Erlandsson had six points, three rebounds and two assists. Coleman had six points and three steals. Koontz had five points.

Now it’s back to the drawing board for the War Eagles, who fell to a distant fifth in the standings behind Tabor (12-0), East Forsyth (9-3), West Forsyth (8-4) and Reagan (8-4). Davie is 5-7 and one game ahead of Glenn (4-8).

“Our energy has to get right for big games,” Pittman said. “I know we might be nervous. I said: ‘I have no doubt that everybody is going to come back and watch y’all on Tuesday (Feb. 7) because that’s the way the community is around here. They’re behind y’all and they believe in y’all win, lose or draw. Y’all did that (by winning 15 games), but at the same time, we’ve got to give them something every so often.’ We got Reagan on the road, then we’ve got to get a big one at home.”

And then: “We’ve got to keep working. When you’re successful at this rate, everybody already thinks you’re really, really good. I think we’re good, but we can be better. Right now we’re still navigating and trying to be good. These are big games for these kids that had never played (varsity before this year). I see the pressure on some of their faces.”

Notes: The Titans, who won the first meeting by four, improved to 13-9. … Davie (15-7) was missing Ethan Ratledge for the third straight game and Landon Waller for the sixth straight. Both are nursing injuries, although Ratledge was expected back for Tuesday’s Senior Night game against Parkland. … Pittman likes Davie’s playoff chances if it splits the final two regular-season games. “I think if we win one more we’ll probably make the playoffs,” he said. “16-8 would be a great year for this group.” … Tabor flexed its muscles as the CPC’s best when it rolled past visiting Davie 71-44 on Jan. 31. After a 33-23 first half, the Spartans outscored Davie 18-2 in the third and improved to 20-1. … The Spartans are outscoring CPC opponents by 23 points on average. … Powers and Williams had 11 points each. Koontz had seven, Rosenbaum six, Erlandsson six and Gavin Reese three.  Lawhon was sick and did not play.