War Eagle boys climb to 17 wins

Published 9:54 am Thursday, February 16, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie varsity boys basketball team entered this week’s Central Piedmont Conference Tournament in high spirits after closing the regular season with two wins.

The War Eagles of Josh Pittman defied preseason odds by reaching 17-7. It’s just the third 17-win season in 10 years.

Davie 63, Parkland 51

Parkland wound up with zero CPC wins, but the Mustangs are not the punching bag they were in December/January. They were coming off an 85-78 overtime loss to Reagan before making Davie work for the win on Senior Night for Burke Rosenbaum and Hayden Williams on Feb. 7.

“Credit to Parkland,” Pittman said. “On Friday they had Reagan beat and they ended up losing in overtime. So they’re still fighting and trying to get wins. They played hard the whole game.”

The War Eagles came out breathing fire. Seven of their first 10 field goals were 3-pointers. Jackson Powers banged three treys, Rosenbaum hit two and Ethan Ratledge and Williams added one apiece as Davie rolled to a 30-17 lead. They seemed poised for a cakewalk over the Mustangs (5-17).

The War Eagles, though, played with their food in the middle quarters and found themselves in a 42-37 dogfight heading into the fourth.

“I said: ‘We’ve got to man up and put in some energy, attitude and effort for the last eight minutes. It doesn’t come down to Xs and Os; it comes down to scrambling, playing harder and wanting to win,’” Pittman said. “Thank goodness, they went out there and responded.”

Davie opened the third with a 11-2 run while converting 4 of 5 field goals. Coleman Lawhon engineered the crushing stretch with two points, four assists and two steals. Lawhon drove and dished to Ratledge for two. He assisted an inside bucket by Powers. He got a steal off Davie’s fullcourt press and hit Williams for a layup. He attacked the lane and gave a no-look pass to Ratledge. At 53-39, Davie was home free.

This isn’t news, but Powers played big with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He made 6 of 10 field goals and 3 of 5 3s. After missing the previous three games, Ratledge (16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, 5-7 FGs) was a major difference-maker in his return. Lawhon recorded 11 points, seven assists and four steals. Williams had seven points, four boards and two steals. Rosenbaum had six points and three steals. Ian Koontz had four points and four boards. Elliott Erlandsson had two points and four boards. Braddock Coleman chipped in three rebounds as Davie stopped a two-game slide and executed Pittman’s fullcourt press beautifully when Parkland was making things too close for comfort.

“I waited (until the fourth) before I fullcourt pressed them because I knew they might have trouble with passes,” he said. “I wanted to wait until the right moment.

“(Ratledge) played great. It was good to get him back.”

Davie 52, Glenn 46

The regular-season finale in Kernersville on Feb. 10 went smoother than anticipated for the War Eagles, who won with room to spare after squeaking out a 51-50 decision in the first meeting thanks to two Williams free throws with nine ticks left.

From Davie’s perspective, it was poetic that a team with two seniors dictated terms against a team that honored 10 seniors.

“We maintained our composure when they made a little run,” Pittman said. “We took care of the ball, we got good energy from the bench and it was a total locked-in effort all the way around.”

After Davie spotted Glenn an 8-0 lead, Rosenbaum rose to the road challenge by completely taking over. He sank a tear drop with his off (left) hand. After hitting a triple, he took a charge on the defensive end. He rebounded and threw long to Coleman, who finished at the other end. Then Rosenbaum hit from long range.

In the second half, Rosenbaum (16 team-high points) resumed his blistering offense. After Powers assisted two Rosenbaum bombs, he was 5 of 6 from the field and 4 of 5 from the arc – and Davie had a 33-22 lead.

“Burke played well,” Pittman said. “He maintained his composure, played good defense for the most part, knocked down open shots and penetrated the gaps when we asked him to. It seems like he’s catching a groove and getting his basketball legs, because it’s not easy when you take a whole year off.”

You figured the Bobcats would eventually find an answer, and they did to cut Davie’s lead to 37-30. But after a Pittman timeout, Davie put the game away. Williams buried a 3. Coleman snatched a rebound, went coast to coast and lofted a layup over a defender and off the glass and in. Powers scored on a forceful move from the low post. Rosenbaum scored on an inbound pass from Lawhon. Powers found a wide-open Ratledge underneath. Lawhon drove for an and-one.

Now it was all but over at 51-37. The final ended up closer than it really was because Davie missed three straight front ends of one-and-ones.

Not only did Powers have 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, the big man dished out six assists.

“He’s unselfish,” Pittman said. “I yell at him sometimes when he passes it off a quick touch. I try to get him to take his time – play first and then pass it. When he does that, it makes him even harder to guard. When they know he’s going to pass it, they will stay home. When I’m calling a play for him to go score, that’s when I need him to be aggressive.”

Davie got contributions from Lawhon (six points, three assists), Williams (six points, five rebounds, two steals), Ratledge (six points, six rebounds 3-4 FGs), Coleman (four points) and Gavin Reese (four points).

“It’s hard to defend when you’ve got several players with 6-10 points,” he said.

Notes: Pittman cited the play of Coleman and Reese. “Both of them came in with high energy and didn’t have turnovers,” he said. “Gavin played really well for a five-minute stretch, and that’s huge for us because it gives (Lawhon) a break.” … Pittman also mentioned Erlandsson. “Elliott came in and did well. He didn’t score, but he played solid, didn’t turn it over and boxed out better.” … Glenn slipped to 10-14. … Davie finished fifth in the CPC. The standings: Mt. Tabor 14-0, Weest Forsyth/East Forsyth 10-4, Reagan 8-6, Davie 7-7, Glenn 4-10, Reynolds 3-11, Parkland 0-14.