Davie boys win dogfight at North

Published 1:34 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The second game of the season bore some resemblance to the first. In the opener against Lexington, the Yellow Jackets were raining 3s in the first half, but Davie restored order and won by 10.

In the second game at North Davidson on Nov. 28, there was a stretch that saw the Black Knights make 6 of 8 3-point shots. Davie trailed by two in the fourth quarter, but the War Eagles rolled up their sleeves and won a 76-72 dogfight.

“They were 3-0 and their confidence was high,” coach Josh Pittman said. “I don’t think they had played top-notch competition, but when a team is 3-0, their confidence is good. So I knew they were going to play well at home. I was proud of the guys because taking somebody’s zero away is not an easy thing to do.”

The centerpieces were Bryson Mickey (19 points, five rebounds, five assists), Coleman Lawhon (17 points, five rebounds, two assists) and Jackson Powers (15 points, 18 rebounds).

“Bryson got going and Coleman was consistent pretty much the whole game,” Pittman said. “Jackson did a wonderful job on both ends of the floor.”

Powers’ 3-ball provided a 21-20 lead, but then North, which had defeated teams by 47, 16 and 33 points, charged to a 28-21 lead. Davie trailed 32-29 at halftime after shooting just 33 percent over the first 16 minutes. North rode four second-quarter 3s to the three-point lead.

“As coaches and players, we’re both responsible,” Pittman said of North’s hot outside shooting. “As coaches, we have to have complete ownership of everything that goes on. Ultimately, it’s always going to be on me, but we have to be alert, pay attention and listen to the game plan. If you let a shooter shoot and they make the first two, it’s going to be a long night. They did a great job of knocking down open shots.”

North’s lead was 38-34 when Davie began to retaliate. Gavin Williams’ dunk sparked five unanswered points for the visitors.

Then Mickey took over. He assisted a Powers bucket. He snatched a defensive rebound, pushed in transition and made a no-look pass – he had multiple highlight-reel dishes – to Ratledge, who scored as he was fouled. Mickey nailed back-to-back 3s. He hit two free throws to make it 50-45 Davie. That was eight straight Davie points for Mickey, and that amounted to a 16-7 surge.

Alas, North came back and grabbed a 52-50 lead; there were 14 lead changes in the game. But the War Eagles would finally grab control for good with a huge 17-5 run. Williams connected from deep. Lawhon scored on a drive. Mickey sank an NBA-range 3 before getting an and-one with a left-hand finish inside. Powers mixed in four straight makes from the foul line as Davie opened a 67-57 lead.

“We pushed the tempo a little bit more (in the second half),” Pittman said. “We got into our sets quicker, and we took advantage of openings by being more aggressive.”

Pittman could have done without the suspense at the end. Instead of putting North to bed, Davie let the Black Knights hang around. They closed the gap to 73-70 and put Davie on the line with :17 remaining. Mickey made one of two to make it a two-possession game at 74-70. North scored and fouled Ethan Driver at :4.9. The reserve sophomore came through by making both, and Pittman breathed a sigh of relief.

“We pretty much controlled the whole fourth quarter, except for a little spurt at the end when we made bad decisions and did not realize what’s going on,” he said. “Then again, I have to remind myself it’s early in the season. I can’t expect them to do something if I don’t tell them to do it.”

Mickey hit 3 of 5 3s and 8 of 9 free throws. Lawhon was 3 of 6 from the arc and 4 of 4 at the line. Powers went 6 of 6 at the stripe and yanked down eight offensive rebounds. Mickey wasn’t the only adept distributor; Ethan Ratledge (eight points) made his share of pretty passes.

“Ratledge did a great job of pushing when he got the offensive rebound as opposed to waiting to give it to a guard,” Pittman said. “Bryson threw us some nice dimes, and I thought Ratledge threw a couple of nice ones, too.”

Notes: Pittman used a box-and-one on shooter Drew Hege in the second half. Williams and Landon King took turns guarding Hege and kept him under wraps. “We went from a zone to a box-and-one, and the box did well for us,” he said. … Williams had six points, Elliott Erlandsson four, Braddock Coleman three, Driver two and Gavin Reese two. King had two assists.  “We filled in with Driver, Braddock, Landon, Adam Brown and Reese,” he said. “Although they were playing 2-3 minutes here and there, their impact was still consistent throughout the game.” … Davie moved to 3-0 with Friday’s 55-46 win at Lexington. While Powers was hampered by a sprained ankle, Mickey was the main man with 16 points and seven rebounds. The other scorers: Ratledge 10, Lawhon 8, Erlandsson 7, Powers 4, Williams 4, Isaac Swisher 2, Driver 2, Coleman 2. … Powers was not himself, but he still managed 10 boards and three blocks. … It was Davie’s worst shooting night (20-58, 34 percent). Ratledge (4 of 7), Mickey (4-8) and Erlandsson (3-4) combined to hit 11 of 19, but the rest of the team struggled to 9 of 39.