JV boys reeling from two losses

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Things were coming easy for the Davie JV boys basketball team. They rolled to victories by 37, 27 and 24 points. They were 6-0 after traveling to North Iredell on Dec. 12.

But they have come crashing back to earth. After back-to-back losses, coach Tracey Arnold is looking for some recalibration over Christmas break.

“We’re just a young team and we don’t know how to put close games away yet,” Arnold said.

Davie 61, N. Iredell 52

One player from North Iredell went crazy in the fourth quarter to cut into the final margin, but Davie actually won this nonconference road game on Dec. 12 with little drama.

Brady Vallance, CJ Coleman and Aiden Horton were driving forces during a 21-9 run in the second quarter that resulted in a 30-22 halftime lead.

Jake Runge scored seven of 19 points in the third, when the margin swelled to 49-30.

“North shoots a lot of 3-pointers,” Arnold said. “They would rather shoot the 3 than the 2. They made some shots early, but then we settled in.”

Vallance led the way with 17 points. Coleman had 13, Ben Reid 11, Horton 9, Runge 9 and Jayden Warren 2.

“Brady had another good game,” Arnold said. “He is starting to find his groove, and he is starting to run a team real good. CJ had another good game. Aiden played real good. He played good defense. He is starting to come on. It seems like every game, I’ve got somebody different finding their groove.”

One guy from North outscored Davie’s entire team in the fourth. He caught fire and had 14 in the quarter, although his burst did not alter the bottom line.

“They had a guy get hot in the fourth quarter,” Arnold said. “He was making everything like he was Steph Curry. He was shooting from everywhere and they were going in.”

EF 55, Davie 51

The positive vibes dissipated in the first Central Piedmont Conference game on Dec. 15. Visiting East Forsyth built a nine-point halftime lead and held on to hand Davie its first loss.

“They were by far the most athletic team that we’ve seen,” Arnold said. “They were real aggressive and real athletic, and that kind of threw us offguard. I guess we were not ready for the physicality.”

Despite facing their biggest challenge of the season, the War Eagles had every chance to pull it out. But they suffered self-inflicted wounds all game.

“I bet we had 16 or 17 turnovers in the first half, and that led to a lot of their points,” Arnold said of the 25-16 halftime deficit.

Davie closed within 37-33 in the third, but it couldn’t get over the hump in the fourth.

“We had more multiple chances,” he said. “We got within two a couple of times. We got back in it and had chance after chance, and we either missed a chippy or threw the ball away when we had numbers or turned the ball over on inbound plays. Every time we had a chance to take control of the game or get back in the game, we missed a layup or a free throw or made a turnover.”

Coleman hit 8 of 10 foul shots and scored a season-high 22. Runge nailed three treys and scored 15. Reid had 9, George Sakai 3 and Vallance 2.

AC 46, Davie 44

After leading by eight at halftime in a nonconference road game on Dec. 19, the War Eagles fell in the most painful possible fashion.

Runge popped a pair of 3s in the first quarter and Davie had a 10-9 lead over Alexander Central. Reid’s nine-point second lifted Davie to a 26-18 halftime lead. The War Eagles got outscored in the third, but they still had a 34-29 advantage heading into the fourth.

The meltdown began after Davie took a 44-40 lead. Central scored and called timeout. The Cougars trapped a War Eagle the moment he caught the inbounds pass, forced a turnover and put in a layup to tie the game at 44. Davie brought the ball across halfcourt, but the ball handler was immediately trapped. Central stole a pass and flew to the other end for an uncontested layup just before the final horn. You can see the pain there.

“Ben got a block (before Central cut Davie’s lead to 44-42), but they found a way to get the rebound and tipped it in,” Arnold said. “That’s what led to (Central’s comeback). I told them we’ve got three timeouts left and if we get in trouble, take a timeout. We go out and turn the ball over. (Before the last turnover), I was trying to get a timeout. I was screaming and hollering timeout. When I saw we picked up the dribble at halfcourt, I immediately started calling timeout because I could already see it unfolding. That’s a tough way to lose.”

Coleman (12) hit double figures for the sixth time, and Reid (11) scored 10 or more for the seventh time. Runge had 8, Vallance 7, Horton 5 and Colson Sink 1.

“Ben had a lot of blocks,” Arnold said. “He played one of his better defensive games.”

But now the reeling War Eagles will try to get through a learning curve.

“We’ve got a lot of freshman and a lot of sophomores who did not play a lot last year, so this is their first time with their feet to the fire,” he said. “And they have not handled it well the last two games, so it’s growing pains.”