Girls basketball gets much-needed win

Published 2:11 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

After shooting 21 percent in the second half and suffering its third loss in a row at North Iredell, the Davie varsity girls basketball team righted all the wrongs and picked up a win it desperately needed.

In the Central Piedmont Conference opener, Madison Daugherty came out smoking, three freshmen combined for 49 points and the War Eagles celebrated a head-turning 72-45 win over visiting East Forsyth.

“We told them this week that we’ve got to decide,” said assistant coach Debbie Evans, who filled in as head coach for the East game with Lindsey Adams away because of a death in her family. “We were searching. It was on them to make a change and they did. They responded.”

North 61, Davie 49

In a nonconference game at North Iredell on Dec. 12, the War Eagles had a strong start, only to fade and find themselves at 3-3 after a 3-0 start.

Bailey Aderhold got in a zone in the first half. The sophomore was the catalyst for a 21-10 lead. At that point, she had 11 points while sinking 3 of 4 3-point shots. Meanwhile, the Raiders were shooting 25 percent (4 of 16 overall, 1-8 from 3).

But everything changed after the 21-10 lead. North (5-2) outscored Davie 51-28 the rest of the way and extended its winning streak to four.

Davie did manage to hang around in the third quarter. Daugherty nailed a 3 and Malayka Rankin/Aderhold converted seven straight free throws to keep the visitors within striking distance at 43-36.

But Avarie Martin fouled out with 6:56 remaining and North scored 15 of 21 points in the fourth to win going away. Davie shot 5 of 23 in the second half. By contrast, North hit 14 of 33 shots (42 percent).

Aderhold had a varsity career high of 13 points to go with five rebounds and two steals. Rankin had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Martin had seven points and Daugherty six. Emmie Burris had six points, four boards and four steals. Londyn McDowell had five points and three rebounds. Peyton Spaugh had two points, six rebounds, five steals and two assists.

The best part of the second half was seeing McDowell on the floor. This was the freshman’s first high school game after dislocating her knee on Sept. 23. She hit 2 of 3 field-goal attempts and became the sixth freshman to see varsity action this season.

Davie 72, EF 45

The CPC opener on Dec. 15 saw quite a transformation from the War Eagles, who blew East Forsyth off the floor and won their league opener for the first time in nine years.

In the opening minutes, Davie drew inspiration from long-range gunner Daugherty. On the first offensive possession, Martin passed to Daugherty in the right corner. Her 3 was money. On the second possession, Daugherty decided to try the left corner. She took a pass from Aderhold and buried the trey. East missed its first seven shots and watched Davie race to a 12-0 lead. Daugherty’s third straight 3 created a 17-3 bulge. Then Martin connected from deep to make it 20-3.

Daugherty opened the second quarter with another 3. When Martin sank a 17-footer, it was 29-9.

“Madison came out hot to get us going,” Evans said.

East found its footing and got within 37-28. Davie, though, restored its momentum with a 15-5 run. Burris drove and hit a tough layup. Daugherty buried a short jumper. Martin’s 3 splashed. Spaugh converted a reverse layup. Spaugh cut down the lane and scored twice, both times receiving nice passes from Rankin.

“We felt like we could run our five-out offense against their man,” Evans said of the Rankin-to-Spaugh plays. “They made the reads and they made the cuts.”

East wasn’t ready to fold, cutting Davie’s lead to 53-40. But this is when Davie put East away for good. Burris drove for two. Daugherty drained her fifth triple. Rankin got a steal in the backcourt and laid it in. Burris banged a 3. Then came a beautiful fast break off a Burris steal: Burris to Rankin to Burris to Spaugh, who finished with a layup as those three moved the ball as if it were a hot potato. The 13-0 run made it a 66-40 rout.

“They weathered the storm,” Evans said. “They recognized what they needed to do on offense and turned up the defensive intensity.”

Two backup freshmen put the cherry on top. With Davie using its delay game in the final minutes, McDowell got a pass in the paint and immediately fed Vivian Vaughters for a layup.

In terms of scoring balance, Davie was as good as it could possibly be. Burris had a season-high 18 on 8-of-13 shooting, as well as four steals and three assists. Daugherty had a season-high 17 on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Spaugh had a season-high 16 with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Martin had 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Rankin had six points and Aderhold one.

“We shared the ball the whole game,” Evans said.

The freshmen who were responsible for 49 points were Burris, Daugherty and Martin.

“Emmie is a fighter,” Evans said. “She keeps plugging defensively. She’s been good taking the ball to the basket. She’s relentless. She goes in there among the bigs sometimes and is able to finish.”

Notes: East (2-6) has lost 6 straight. … Davie’s hot shooting converted 26 of 57 field goals, including 8 of 20 3s. East shot 32 percent (17-53). … With Adams attending a funeral, Davie was in the hands of Evans, Davie’s head coach from 2006-07 through 2009-10.