JV boys on a roller coaster ride

Published 1:17 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

What a roller-coaster ride it’s been for the Davie JV boys basketball team.

It’s last six games: loss, win, loss, win, loss, win.

At halftime against Reynolds, the War Eagles were on the verge of back-to-back defeats. But Jake Runge and Co. saved Davie’s bacon in the second half as Davie rallied to improve its record to 9-4.

Glenn 56, Davie 53

The War Eagles couldn’t have started much better at Glenn on Jan. 17. Brady Vallance scored six points in a hurry as Davie jumped to a 15-6 lead.

On paper, it looked like victory was all but certain. Glenn lost 51-50 to Lexington, which lost by 37 and 24 to Davie. Glenn lost by 45 to Reagan, which shaved Davie by five. And Davie looked ready to roll after the first quarter.

But the War Eagles cooled off considerably and things went sour. Glenn outscored Davie 17-9 in the second quarter to get within one, and it erased Davie’s 44-41 lead in the fourth.

“We went on a drought and they started making 3s,” coach Tracey Arnold said. “They made some logo shots from deep, and the next thing you know it was tight.”

Down three with six seconds to go, Arnold called timeout to set up a 3-point try. Davie missed at the buzzer and watched a 4-11 opponent celebrate.

“We had our chances,” Arnold said. “We missed some shots that we should have made, and they made shots they probably have not made all year.”

CJ Coleman took over in the third, hit three 3s and finished with 20 points. Vallance (10) posted his highest scoring total in six games. Ben Reid (7), Aiden Horton (6), George Sakai (5) and Jayden Warren (5) rounded out the scoring.

“Coleman carried us in the third,” Arnold said of his 12-point explosion. “He was a man possessed in the third. He could not be stopped.”

Davie was hampered by the absence of Jake Runge, who was averaging 9.2 points but was sidelined by a stress fracture in a finger on his right (shooting) hand.

“He’s probably going to be out at least another week,” Arnold said.

Davie 44, Reynolds 34

Not only did Runge return sooner than expected, he made the difference in the comeback win at home on Jan. 19. After going scoreless in the first half, Runge was terrific in the fourth, when he scored 10 of his team-high 14.

“He had to tape two fingers together. He’s tough,” Arnold said.

This was Runge’s biggest offensive output in five games.

“In the fourth quarter, he started taking it to the hole,” Arnold said. “He usually just shoots. In the first half of the year, he was (an outside) shooter and I told him I wanted him to be more of a scorer and not just a shooter. (In the fourth) he was hitting floaters and getting to the rack, so he’s turning into a well-rounded scorer.”

The War Eagles played uninspired in the first half and found themselves behind 16-11. Varsity coach Josh Pittman visited the halftime huddle and the boys took his message to heart. The second half was another story.

“Coach Pittman came out in the hallway when we were talking and he told those guys they needed to represent Davie, that they needed to play for the school, because we were getting outplayed and Reynolds was talking junk,” Arnold said. “That fired our guys up.”

Getting offensive lifts from Reid, Runge, Horton, Coleman and Vallance, Davie rocked the Demons 16-6 in the third. Then Runge drove the nails in Reynolds’ coffin as Davie walked away with a satisfying victory.

Coleman finished with 11, followed by Vallance with seven. Horton and Reid had six each.

“In the second half, our focused and intensity was better,” Arnold said. “We started picking up fullcourt, getting stops and we started attacking on the offensive end.

“Ben only had six (points), but he played his best defensive game. He was strong on the boards, he blocked a lot of shots and altered a lot of shots. He played with a lot more energy. I told him the day before we needed more production inside  from him, and he responded. Brady handled the ball and played good defense.”

It was the fourth straight game that Horton has produced points.

“Aiden has been doing real well in practice, he played well at Glenn and he got the start,” he said. “He played a good, solid game. He played good on the defensive end.”