Ratledge scores 19 for JV girls

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

After digging a 16-8 hole in the first half, after trailing by seven at the end of the third quarter, the Davie JV girls basketball team showed a ton of fight in an eventual 30-26 road loss to North Iredell on Dec. 12.

Britany Hernandez’s 18-foot shot tied the game at 25, and Vivian Vaughters’ free throw provided a 26-25 lead with 36 seconds remaining. The Raiders, though, retook the lead at 27-26. Davie missed at the other end and North took off on a fast break. Before Davie could foul, a Raider pulled up and buried a 3-pointer at :08, putting the game out of reach.

“If Vivian gets there a second earlier, that ball is probably going to be in the stands,” coach Lamar Russell said.

Davie had a chance to steal the game thanks to Vaughters’ seven-point fourth. It was the only quarter she played because of the five-quarter rule; she also plays a backup role on the varsity squad.

“We get Vivian for one quarter because of the five-quarter rule,” Russell said. “Vivian is a game-changer. The other girls managed the game long enough to give Vivian a chance to come in and provide a spark. It was like a domino effect (when she entered the game). My assistants told me that we need to put Vivian at the high post, and that is what we needed. Vivian got an and-one, then she forced a turnover at the other end. So our team was rejuvenated.”

Maddie Ratledge paced the War Eagles with nine points, followed by Vaughters with seven, Hernandez with six, Kate Nicholson with three and Zahmirah Summers with one.

“Britany and Maddie kept us afloat (in the first three quarters),” Russell said. “Kate was not afraid to shoot it, and (her 3-pointer) was gorgeous.”

Davie 25, EF 24

The first Central Piedmont Conference game was another tightly contested scrap, but this time Davie walked away victorious.

After a 10-10 first half against visiting East Forsyth on Dec. 15, Davie surged to a 19-13 lead by the end of the third. That’s when Ratledge came up big again, scoring six of her team-high 16 points in the quarter.

“Maddie seems to always step up and do things when I need her to,” Russell said.

The War Eagles lost the lead in the fourth but recovered to curb a two-game slide. Hernandez (seven) and Summers (two) had the other nine points, and Nicholson “stepped up and did the dirty work,” Russell said.

But another difference-maker was Jaylene Rivera. Russell heaped enormous praise on the first-year sophomore.

“Jaylene did not score, but she played awesome,” he said. “She did everything I needed her to do. Without her defense, we would’ve lost this game. She was all over the floor. This is her first year playing basketball, but she’s getting a lot better. I’m telling you, without Jaylene’s defense, we lose the game. I can’t say enough about the way she played.”

AC 66, Davie 32

In a nonconference game at Alexander Central on Dec. 19, Davie simply ran into a buzzsaw. The undefeated Cougars (9-0) romped to their fourth win by 30-plus points, beat Davie (2-4) for the second time in 11 days and dealt the War Eagles their worst defeat of the season.

The bright spot was Ratledge, who accounted for 13 of Davie’s 15 points in the first half. She finished with 19 to match a season high. Hernandez (11) cracked double figures for the second time, and Summers had two. “Not only was I impressed with Maddie – I’m always impressed with Maddie’s skills – but the Alexander Central coach was also very impressed with her,” Russell said. “They tried to keep the ball out of her hands, but she found a way to get the ball and found a way to get to the basket.”