Girls fall short in Spaugh-led rally

Published 1:59 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

At the end of the third quarter, Reagan’s varsity girls basketball team had a 19-point lead and Davie coach Lindsey Adams had a glare that would scare away wolves.

Amazingly, the War Eagles were within three with a minute on the clock. The secret: Peyton Spaugh’s remarkable defensive abilities. Her grit, toughness and drive led a huge rally.

Davie, unfortunately, ran out of juice in the final minute. It would have been a legendary comeback. Reagan held on 58-52 in Pfafftown on Jan. 3.

“It took me chewing them out at the end of the third quarter for them to finally play with assertiveness,” Adams said. “(The fourth-quarter rally) made me more mad because basketball is not a game where you can just turn it on and off. You have to be locked in from start to finish every single possession, because this conference matters.”

In the first quarter, Bailey Aderhold and Madison Daugherty combined to hit three 3s as Davie burst to a 15-7 lead. The middle two quarters, though, were miserable for the visitors. Reagan went on a 26-5 run. Emmie Burris’ tough bank shot stopped a drought that saw Davie miss nine straight shots. By contrast, Reagan banged four straight 3s to build a 33-20 halftime lead.

In the third, Burris scored four straight as Davie pulled within 33-27, but Reagan scored 17 of the next 19 points to make it 50-29 in the opening seconds of the fourth. The collapse came on the heels of a 3-0 run in the Christmas tournament at Ledford.

“I think last week’s easy games vs. Davidson (County) … we thought when we jumped on them early that it was going to be easy,” Adams said. “They don’t realize how competitive 4-A CPC is. You have to be disciplined every single possession no matter if you’re up or down.”

The No. 1 reason for Davie’s big deficit was Reagan senior Emily Smith, who scored 17 of her 20 points in the second quarter, when she nailed four of her five triples.

“She was on my scout as the best shooter on their team, and she was still able to hit (four 3s in the second),” Adams said. “I think it was a lack of focus.”

Spaugh was unfazed by the 50-29 deficit. The senior always plays absurdly hard, but she was on another level in the fourth. Burris ran a fast break and hit Spaugh for a layup. Spaugh got a steal and scored at the other end. Vivian Vaughters scored off an offensive rebound after a Spaugh steal. After Malayka Rankin came up with a steal, a successful fast break saw the ball move from Spaugh to Vaughters to Avarie Martin. Spaugh led a fast break and assisted a Londyn McDowell bucket. Vaughters turned a steal into a layup.

Then came a breathtaking sequence from Spaugh. She got a steal and hit Vaughters on the break for two. Then she stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored. Then she knocked the ball away around midcourt, a teammate passed it to Spaugh and she was fouled with a minute remaining. Spaugh hit both free throws to cut Reagan’s lead to 55-52. It was a 23-5 Davie run. The War Eagles converted 9 of 12 field goals during that stretch and chopped 18 points off the deficit despite having Aderhold foul out at the six-minute mark and watching Rankin get whistled for her fifth personal with 4:53 to go.

It was absurdly wonderful to watch Davie come back to make it a one-possession game. Adams said the ultra toughness of Spaugh/Rankin is something she’d love to bottle.

“Peyton and Malayka are relentless,” she said. “They’ve always been my defensive competitors. They are so annoying (on defense) and they’re not scared of you. You can cross them up, you can knock them to the floor, but they’re going to come back and keep fighting. Peyton has shown so much more passion and energy this year. I think a lot of that comes from her confidence. She put in a lot of work in the offseason, and being able to see the results of that, that brings more passion to the table for her.”

Davie was one more stop from potentially forcing overtime, but – and you knew a but was coming – Reagan hit 3 of 4 foul shots in the waning moments and improved to 2-0 in the CPC. Davie (1-1 CPC) lost to the Raiders for the ninth time in 10 meetings.

The consolation was Spaugh’s stat line. Here’s all she did: 12 points, 11 steals, four assists, four rebounds, 6-of-8 foul shooting.The fiery finish was aided by Burris (8 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals), Aderhold (7 points, 6 rebounds), Martin (6 points, 5 rebounds), Vaughters (6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals), Madison Daugherty (5 points), McDowell (5 points) and Rankin (3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals).

Although Vaughters is a freshman with little basketball experience, she’s been a quick study and her upside is exciting for the next three years.

“She’s catching on fairly quickly,” Adams said. “At the beginning of the season, I didn’t even think to have Vivian on my varsity. I only pulled her up because the Gentry sisters got injured.”

Tabor 64, Davie 41

Two days later, the furious comeback at Reagan did not carry over. Davie was trounced at Mt. Tabor. The Spartans led by 11 at the end of the first, by 19 at halftime and by 23 after the third. It was Davie’s worst loss of the year.

The Davie scorers were Aderhold (10), Martin (10), Rankin (8), Spaugh (6), Vaughters (4) and Burris (3).

While Tabor improved to 8-4 overall and 2-1 in the league, Davie fell to 7-6, 1-2.