Johnson hits game winner for Davie girls

Published 9:54 am Thursday, February 16, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Although the Davie varsity girls basketball team suffered its fourth loss in a row against visiting Parkland on Feb. 7, it felt like the downward spiral was halted when the final horn sounded.

After disheartening losses that saw Davie manage just 39, 33 and 29 points, the War Eagles came out against a Parkland team that was in second place in the conference with their collective hair on fire in what proved to be the highest-scoring game in 29 years. They led most of the way before absorbing a heartbreaking 77-71 loss.

It was a heck of an effort after losing by 27 to Parkland on Jan. 10. It was quite a showing after hitting a wall against Reagan/Mt. Tabor/West Forsyth.

The game featured seven ties and eight lead changes. Davie’s biggest lead was seven; Parkland’s was six. The game also featured a lot of whistles – 53 fouls (27 on Parkland, 26 on Davie) – and 71 free throws (Parkland 25-42, Davie 20-29).

“My girls did everything I asked them to do defensively and offensively,” coach Lindsey Adams said. “That was a hard one to swallow.”

Sydney Dirks, Lauren Colamarino and Malayka Rankin were a part of a 7-0 run that lifted Davie to a 33-27 lead late in the first half. Rankin fouled out early in the third. Adams wasn’t happy with the call and was hit with a technical foul. Parkland converted 3 of 4 free throws to forge a tie at 36.

Then Colamarino found magic. When it was 36-36, the junior center had missed her only two field goals while scoring four points from the line. All she did from there was score 17 of Davie’s next 24 points.

Twice Dirks assisted a Colamarino bucket. Bailey Aderhold fed Colamarino for two. Colamarino, an adept ball handler for a big girl, dribbled the ball downcourt, split two defenders in the lane and finished at the rim. After hitting two free throws, she took an inbound pass, attacked the paint and kissed it off the glass. Kenadi Gentry fired a long baseball pass on an inbounds. Colamarino caught it and went in for two as she was fouled, the three-point play providing a 60-54 lead. After Parkland got an and-one to take a 64-63 lead – its first lead since 27-26 – Colamarino rebounded her own miss and scored for a 65-64 Davie lead.

Colamarino had 20 points in a monstrous second half, or about 15 more than she was averaging at tipoff. She hit 8 of 17 from the floor, drilled 8 of 9 foul shots, scored 24 points, yanked down 21 rebounds, handed out three assists and swatted two shots. Not only did she provide scoring that Davie had been sorely missing in recent games, she achieved a 20-20 double-double, something that is unheard-of.

“I wrote everybody a little sticky note and put it on their locker about their goal for the night,” Adams said. “I told Lauren: ‘Rebound every missed shot and attack the rim every time – they can’t guard you.’ Parkland didn’t have anybody with her size. That was the type of game I knew she was capable of.”

In the fourth quarter, though, the Mustangs showed why they’re 17-5. They scored 23 of the final 34 points. Gentry’s two free throws provided a 67-66 lead, but Parkland went 7 of 10 at the line down the stretch to stave off the War Eagles and spoil Senior Night for Dirks, Somer Johnson and Keelyn Oakes.

But still, it felt like a game that did not have a loser.

“I didn’t know if we were going to find it, didn’t know if our season had already peaked,” Adams said. “That’s definitely a game we needed. We needed some confidence going into the conference tournament.”

Gentry had 16 points. Johnson had nine points and three assists. Rankin fouled out with five points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two charges taken. Peyton Spaugh had four points, Oakes four and Aderhold two.

And then there was Dirks (seven points, four steals, three assists, two charges taken), the feisty senior who drew the defensive assignment on senior Christiana Young, who has 2,000-plus career points after spending her first three years of high school at Winston-Salem Christian. Young had 18 points in the 79-52 win over Davie in January, but this time she was a non-factor for three quarters before finishing with 13. Adams ordered a box-and-one and Dirks was draped on Young. When Dirks was not in the game, Spaugh helped contain the lethal Mustang.

“(Young) leads our conference by averaging 17 points a game,”Adams said. “The reason I did a box on her is she also averages five assists a game, so she creates a lot for them. Sydney held (East Forsyth’s top scorer) to single digits. Sydney is just a tough competitor. If you give her a job, she will do it. She chased the girl around the court for 90 feet.”

Notes: Parkland junior Justace Williams picked up the slack and poured in 28 points. … This was the highest-scoring Davie game since a 78-75 win over Salisbury in 1993-94.

Davie 40, Glenn 39

The War Eagles did not score in the first quarter in Kernersville on Feb. 10. They finished with 31 fewer points than the game before. They had to scratch and claw to get past the Central Piedmont Conference’s cellar-dweller.

So, yeah, this win wasn’t a thing of beauty. Ultimately, though, any road win in the CPC is a precious commodity, regardless of how it is obtained.

And the first win in 21 days was delivered by Johnson, who drained a go-ahead shot with 11 seconds left.

“Our conference is something else, especially when you’ve got Parkland and Reynolds tied for first with four losses (each),” Adams said.

The first quarter ended with Glenn ahead 7-0. Davie was 0 for 19 from the field in the first eight minutes. (It was a good thing the Bobcats were having offensive trouble themselves.) Davie was 0 for 10 from 3-point range before Gentry nailed back-to-back treys to give her team a 14-13 halftime lead.

Davie went into another extended drought and Glenn ripped off a 13-2 run to take a 26-16 lead. Adams became anxious so she put Colamarino in the game for the first time with 3:20 remaining in the third.

“We limited Lauren’s minutes because of an injury,” she said. “I was like: ‘OK, this is getting too close (to a loss). I don’t like this.’”

After Colamarino entered, Davie went on a 22-7 run. An and-one by Oakes ignited the surge. Gentry and Colamarino combined for 15 of the 22 points as Davie barged to a 38-33 lead with 1:07 to go.

“Kenadi, as always, stepped up at big moments and hit some 3s to give us some momentum,” Adams said.

Glenn roared back by sandwiching two 3s around a Davie turnover. It was now 39-38 Parkland at :41. Davie missed a shot at :25, but Parkland missed the front end of a one-and-one at :23. Facing 94 feet and a fullcourt press, Davie was down one and down to its last gasp.

“I told my girls their press (is not effective),” Adams said. “Just beat the press and you’ll get a layup. I drew up our press-breaker. I said anybody can score it.”

Gentry inbounded to Johnson, who gave it to Rankin, who gave it right back to Johnson. The senior who earlier in the day committed to Brevard to continue her basketball career dribbled upcourt with her left hand and knifed into the lane. She sank a 10-footer at :11. After calling time at :07, a Bobcat missed a running 3 at the buzzer.

Davie survived a scare on a night in which it shot 22 percent.

“They were desperate to get a (CPC) win,” Adams said of Glenn. “Somer has been struggling with confidence. For her to kind of take it coast to coast and have the confidence to get that shot off was definitely important for us. That was big for her to step up and do that. She made the one that mattered and that’s the only thing we’re going to remember. That’s actually her second game-winner at Glenn. In my first year (at Davie when Johnson was a sophomore), she hit a 3 to win the game for us.”

Gentry was fabulous after a cold start, finishing with 18 points, four 3s and 10 rebounds. Colamarino had seven points and two assists in less than a half of action. Rankin had four points and four rebounds. Johnson had four points. Spaugh had four points, eight steals and three assists. Aderhold contributed four rebounds.

And Davie got exactly what it needed from Oakes (two points, four assists, three rebounds) and Dirks (one point, nine rebounds as a starter in place of Colamarino).

“Sydney and Keelyn got a lot of playing time because of their toughness and defense,” Adams said. “Everybody knows softball is Sydney’s sport, but she’s a competitor. She knows what her job is when she goes in. Keelyn is sneaky. A lot of people don’t consider her a threat, but she has a high basketball IQ.”

Notes: Glenn dropped to 3-20. … Davie, which won the first meeting 53-39, closed the regular season at 13-11. … The War Eagles finished tied for fifth in the CPC. The standings: Reynolds/Parkland 10-4, East Forsyth 9-5, Reagan 8-6, Davie/West Forsyth 7-7, Tabor 5-9, Glenn 0-14. … The CPC Tournament is this week.