Phoenix shocks South in finals

Published 10:16 am Thursday, February 16, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The South Davie boys basketball team entered the conference championship game with the wind at its sails. The second-seeded Tigers romped by 30 and 24 points in the first two rounds, they whipped top-seeded Phoenix Academy 53-27 on Dec. 15 and they had enormous momentum from a 13-game winning streak.

The championship showdown at Phoenix on Feb. 3, though, was a different story from Dec. 15. Phoenix and its one-man gang stunned South 61-45. Phoenix’s star player was responsible for half the offense with 31 points. Making the loss all the more frustrating, Phoenix’s go-to player got to the free-throw line time and time again, going 21 of 24 from the charity stripe.

South, which trailed 32-26 at halftime, was outscored 29-19 in the second half, resulting in its first loss since Nov. 21.

Noah Dulin (17), Draeton Nance (15), Jayce Bentley (nine) and Jayden Warren (six) did the scoring as South finished 13-3.

Despite the disappointing finish, the Tigers enjoyed a tremendous season. This marked the seventh 13-win season in their 30-year history as a middle school. South went 16-1 in 2007-08, 16-1 in 2009-10, 15-2 in 2012-13, 17-0 in 2013-14, 13-2 in 2016-17 and 14-2 in 2019-20.

To say South will be strong in 2023-24 would be an understatement. Dulin (18.7) and Nance (17.1) put up huge scoring numbers and both are seventh graders. The Nos. 3-4 scoring averages belonged to Cameron Knox (7.6) and Warren (7.1).

“William Martin and Owen Parker should have good years next year, and if Anderson Branham continues to develop, we will be solid,” coach Germain Mayfield said.