Rivals can’t stop Davie barrage: Boys basketball now 14-0

Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Central Piedmont Conference rivals have to be asking a question: How the heck do you slow down the Davie attack?

The Davie boys basketball team reminds us every week how deep it is.

Jackson Powers (14.9 points per game) and Bryson Mickey (13.5) are the only double-figure scorers at the moment, and they’ve played at a high level virtually every game. But the War Eagles come at opponents in waves. Coleman Lawhon (9.3) has enjoyed 17- and 19-point outings. Ethan Ratledge (8.6) has posted three 13-point games. Gavin Williams (7.1) has cracked double figures on three occasions.

And then you have the stout bench. Adam Brown has produced 11 and eight points. Elliott Erlandsson had 15 one night. Ethan Driver has put up 16 and 12.

In Friday’s home game against Parkland, it was Braddock Coleman who gave Davie a boost in a 72-64 victory that kept the perfect record intact at 14-0. The junior wing shined from the outside in the first half and lifted his team to an 11-point halftime lead. The Mustangs (7-7) never recovered.

This was a solid win over a dangerous team that has a deceiving 1-4 CPC record. The Mustangs lost by one to Glenn, by five in overtime to Reynolds and by three to East Forsyth. They were coming off a 62-55 win over Reagan.

“Right now we are in first place (tied with West Forsyth) and everybody wants to beat the first-place team,” coach Josh Pittman said. “They barely lost to East and they beat Reagan. They should’ve beaten East to be honest with you. I knew they would come in here ready to play, but on the whole, I thought we handled everything well and played like we’re supposed to.”

Davie’s second-quarter lead was just 18-14 when Coleman strung together an electrifying stretch off the bench. He faked a pass to his left, the defender bit and Coleman buried the 3-pointer. Moments later, Coleman passed to Erlandsson. Erlandsson didn’t see an opening, so he dished it right back to Coleman, who made the 3. Then Mickey penetrated and kicked it out to Coleman, who was more than ready to try it again. The 3 splashed and Davie had a comfortable 32-21 halftime lead.

All three of Coleman’s triples were from the left wing. All three zipped through the net cleanly. Those were his only shot attempts of the game, but the explosion once again underscored Davie’s diversity. Coleman stepped up after entering with a 1.3 average.

“Braddock did what we’ve been asking him to do, and that’s shoot the ball when he’s open and continue to be locked in,” Pittman said. “He needed to see the ball go through the hoop, and I’m happy it did. That was excellent for us.”

In the second half, Ratledge scored five straight Davie points as the War Eagles stretched the lead. The margin grew to 18 on four occasions – at 46-28 on a Ratledge bucket in transition, at 48-30 when Powers stuck back his own miss, at 50-32 when Powers again rebounded his own miss and laid it in and at 57-39 when Driver scored off an offensive board.

But then the Mustangs got hot. They hit 7 of 9 shots, Powers fouled out with 4:38 to go and Parkland was within 59-52 with 3:03 on the clock. This stretch was one reason Pittman left the gym unsatisfied. He said Davie’s defense – or lack thereof – against Parkland’s guards left a lot to be desired.

“We continue to not pay attention to the scout,” he said. “They just think they’re going to go out and win a game without locking in and doing what we’re supposed to do. I tried to tell them Parkland is not the Parkland of old. Parkland plays hard the whole game. It was just us not paying attention to the scout. I told them their guards are all offensive rebounders. I mean, they all want to score so they all crash the boards. I told them they cannot shoot (outside). They made two 3-pointers and we can live with that, but what I cannot be happy about is them getting downhill and getting to the hole. We’ve got to lock up and do better on defense.”

But through 14 games, the War Eagles have demonstrated the ability to do whatever they need to do, whenever it needs doing. After Parkland drew within seven, Davie answered with a couple of haymakers.

Williams found Mickey and Mickey banged a 3 at 2:48. On another offensive possession, Mickey was caught in a double-team. He made a pass that was intended for Brown but ended up in Landon King’s hands, and King put in an uncontested layup. At 64-52, that was the dagger. Davie salted it away by hitting 8 of 11 free throws in the final minute.

“For us to lose Jackson with (4:38) left in the game and still maintain a seven- to 10-point lead was crucial,” Pittman said. “I don’t think the game as a whole was bad, after taking a week off and missing a practice day. We had an answer and it came from different people. That’s what made it even better. That shows the development of our players.”

Davie was led by Mickey (16 points, 4 rebounds), Powers (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Ratledge (13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals). Mickey made 5 of 8 shots, including 3 of 5 from the arc. Powers pounded out his fifth double-double. Ratledge matched his season high by converting 5 of 7 shots.

“Ratledge played a heck of a second half and started to be more aggressive,” Pittman said.

While Coleman recorded a season high in scoring, King went 3 for 3 from the field to score six. Lawhon had five points and four rebounds. Driver had five points, four rebounds and two steals. Erlandsson had two points as Davie shot a blistering 54 percent (26 of 48 overall, 9 of 18 from 3).

Davie and West, which meet here Tuesday, are both 4-0 in the league. Tabor (4-1) and East Forsyth (3-2) are third and fourth.