Tough week ‘part of process’ for girls basketball

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The 11-point loss to unbeaten Alexander Central was understandable. The five-point loss to North Davidson was reason for pause.

Davie’s varsity girls basketball team fell twice last week after starting 3-0 for the first time in 14 years. Yes, North Davidson was an unexpected downturn after beating the Black Knights by 23 in the first meeting, but Davie did take a step in the right direction against Central.

“It sucks, but it is growing pains,” coach Lindsey Adams said. “I want results now, but it’s part of the process.”

ND 58, Davie 53

The home game on Dec. 5 was disheartening because Davie had blasted North Davidson 47-24 a week earlier.

The first three quarters were mostly wreckage. Davie spotted North a 25-5 lead. The War Eagles climbed back to 34-24, but twice North missed the second free throw but managed to get the rebound and score for a pair of three-point possessions. In the first meeting, Davie limited 6-0 junior Madison McNair to two points; this time she scored a team-high 14.

As you would expect, the outcome hit a nerve.

“In varsity basketball, people make adjustments,” Adams said. “North Davidson did a good job; they made an adjustment to our box-and-one and they hit open shots, which changed our game plan. I don’t think our (players) were expecting me to change the game plan, and they did not know how to adjust.”

Then: “We’ve got to play defense and rebound, and in the first half we did not do either.

And then: “I can take losing, but I’m not fine with getting outplayed and that’s what happened.”

But Davie did battle back furiously, even though it wasn’t quite enough in the end.

After falling behind 50-35, Davie put together an 18-6 run. Avarie Martin scored, Emmie Burris hit a 3-pointer and Malayka Rankin canned six straight free throws. Madison Daugherty scored twice in the lane. After the second one, Davie trapped, Peyton Spaugh came up with a turnover and Burris was fouled after snatching an offensive rebound. She hit one. Then Burris stole a pass and fed Spaugh for a layup. Just like that, Davie was down 56-53 with :46 remaining.

“In the last four minutes of the game, we played Davie basketball like we did for the first three games,” Adams said. “Malayka, Emmie and Madison Daugherty (showed toughness). Madison stepped up and took the ball to the hole. That was big for her.”

Thanks to a steal by Spaugh, Davie had a chance to force overtime. Burris made a skip pass to the left wing to an open Daugherty. Her 3 missed at :17 and North hit two free throws to seal it.

But Adams liked the execution in a pressure situation.

“We called a play and Somer (Johnson) actually won us a game off of it multiple times,” she said. “Sometimes shots fall, sometimes they don’t. Three years from now, that girl (Daugherty) is going to have confidence where it’s 100 percent going to fall.”

Burris finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists. Spaugh had 11 points, five steals and four rebounds while going 6-6 at the foul line. Rankin scored 11 by hitting 7 of 8 foul shots, and she added six boards. Daugherty had 10 points. Martin had eight points, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals before fouling out with 4:28 left.

Notes: The last time Davie started 3-0 was 2009-10, when Debbie Evans’ team opened 7-0. … North missed 11 of 15 second-half shots, but it compensated by hitting 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth.

AC 55, Davie 44

On paper, Davie was outclassed by Friday’s opponent. Alexander Central had hammered its first six opponents by an average of 26 points.

But when the Cougars visited the Davie gym on Dec. 8, it was anything but one-sided. Davie gave Adams everything she could have wanted in defeat.

“We gave them a run for their money,” she said. “Nobody had held No. 20 (Meredith Wike, a Division-I recruit) under 16 points. She had seven; we took their leading scorers out. (Wike) was averaging 25 points and shooting 48 percent from 3.”

Davie trailed just 25-24 at halftime. Its staying power was due in large part to Daugherty, who hit three of her first five attempts from 3-point range.

The War Eagles started strong in the third. Spaugh finished a fast break for a 27-25 lead. Martin hit back-to-back buckets to provide a 31-29 advantage.

Davie’s momentum finally fizzled shortly after that. Senior Kirstyn Herman saved Central’s bacon by hitting five 3s.

“Obviously, I’m very proud of them,” Adams said. “I feel like they finally showed their potential to a home crowd. I think the other home games we had fans haven’t been able to see the potential that I was talking about all summer.”

Martin (13 points, 11 rebounds, two assists) posted a double-double. Daugherty (10) scored in double figures for the third straight game. Burris had eight points and eight rebounds. Bailey Aderhold had six points and four rebounds. Spaugh had five points, seven rebounds and two charges on defense. Rankin had one point, five rebounds, three steals and three assists. Vivian Vaughters had one point.

“It shows what we’re capable of,” Adams said. “(But) in the second half, our inexperienced showed up against six seniors. We were 14-year-olds going up against 18-year-olds.”

Notes: The 7-0 Cougars have won 20-plus games the past two years. … Davie (3-2) is hoping sophomore guard Makenzie Gentry can return from a knee injury Jan. 2. “She is off crutches,” Adams said.