Boys set record with 16-0 run

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

With a packed house on hand against visiting West Forsyth, the Davie boys basketball team showed again it has several weapons that are capable of stealing the show at any given moment. Bryson Mickey, Jackson Powers, Coleman Lawhon and Ethan Ratledge made dazzling plays again and again and again during a record-setting 78-71 win on Jan. 23.

It was a legendary night that saw the War Eagles do something they’d never done in their 68-year history – start 16-0 and win 16 straight games.

The dream streak died two nights later at East Forsyth, but getting No. 16 before a sea of blissful fans was a heartwarming moment for the War Eagles.   

“God is good, man,” coach Josh Pittman said. “All the glory to God, all the glory to the guys for buying in and glory to the Davie County people for showing up for these boys and these girls. We’ve already got an amazing football culture, so we’re trying to get a basketball culture to go with it. And then have a sports culture in Davie County that can’t be matched.”

Ratledge, whose expression barely changes no matter the situation, calmly scored eight of Davie’s first 10 points with an array of low-post moves. His 4-for-4 start included a give-and-go with his frontcourt sidekick. Ratledge passed to Powers, who gave it right back to Ratledge as he headed to the hole for two. Ratledge posted up, used a head fake to put his defender in the popcorn machine and scored as Davie took a 10-8 lead.

“We knew they play with one big and we can’t stop what we do because of the way they play,” Pittman said. “We’re a good team, so we’re gonna make them adjust to how we play.”

The crafty, savvy Mickey left everyone in awe, and not for the first time. With a defender draped on him late in the first quarter, he spun and swished a nasty, step-back 3 at the buzzer to give Davie a 21-13 lead.

Davie played a spectacular first half, taking a 36-21 lead behind 11 points from Mickey and Ratledge and eight from Powers. In the third quarter, Mickey’s tear drop provided the largest lead of the game at 38-21.

Not to be outdone, Lawhon hit a series of circus shots. With Davie breaking the fullcourt press, Lawhon made a wonderful touch pass to Elliott Erlandsson, who finished with a layup. Landon King passed it out to Lawhon, who drilled a 3.

Davie had been in control all game, but it still had to work to stay ahead of the stubborn Titans, who made five straight field goals to get back in contention. With West’s student section yelling and screaming, Ethan Driver took an offensive rebound and found Lawhon in the left corner. The defender knocked Lawhon down but he made the 3 anyway, then completed the four-point play to push Davie’s lead to 53-41.

After Lawhon hit a jumper from the left baseline, he made two dipsy-do layups while getting fouled. The senior’s electrifying buckets created a 67-54 spread.

The Davie crowd got tense when West (13-4) used a 7-0 run to climb within 67-61, but the steadying hand of Mickey kept the Titans at bay. Mickey’s driving and-one made it 70-61 with 2:04 to go.

Mickey hit cold-blooded shots all night for a season-high 25 points. He went 8 of 10 overall, 4-4 on 3s and 5-5 from the line. Powers was next with 17 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Lawhon had 16 points and four rebounds before fouling out with 2:50 left. Ratledge (12 points) was the fourth guy in double figures.

Last year the Titans staved off Davie by four and 10 points, but this time they walked into a hornet’s nest.

“Last year when they pressed up, we kind of folded, but I thought doing some little tricky stuff in practice helped us handle that jump-trap a lot better,” Pittman said. “We pretty much dominated the whole game. I was proud of the way the boys fought and maintained the whole game.

“Coleman and Bryson played really big. They made big shots in the right moments when we needed them. Bryson plays so composed. You can’t rush him. He’s the perfect complement to Coleman in the backcourt. The way they played together is just good stuff. I told (Powers) you’ve got to man up, go up strong and enjoy it.”

Erlandsson had four points. Driver (2 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists) was a beast on the boards. Adam Brown’s two points came on a fourth-quarter drive along the baseline in which he scored as he crashed to the floor. King contributed four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

“Driver had at least five rebounds in the first quarter,” Pittman said. “Braddock Coleman and Landon King came in and played wonderful defense. We’re still playing 11 guys. I’m proud of them. They are buying in and they’re own the bench cheering.”

EF 68, Davie 51

Anything can happen in the CPC – Davie needed 51-percent shooting and a 37-point fourth to beat East by five in December – and the War Eagles hit a wall in Kernersville on Jan. 25.

The final score is deceiving. This was a back-and-forth battle until the fourth quarter, when the game went sideways on Davie. When it was over, the East students stormed the court.

“We forced some shots, but I can’t be upset with them,” Pittman said. “I felt like they competed, especially coming off an emotional high like (the West game). I mean, Tuesday was a huge game. East had a week of rest and a week to prepare. It was just one of those perfect-storm type deals.”

When King buried a 3 from the top of the key, Davie had a 45-44 lead with 7:44 left. But East went on a big run soon after that and wound up outscoring Davie 24-9 in the final eight minutes. Davie had one of those nights, shooting 38 percent from the floor, going 7-15 from the foul line and committing 13 turnovers to East’s six. East, on the other hand, hit 50 percent of its field goals.

Lawhon (17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) was the only starter who produced at a normal level. Mickey had 11 points. Powers had seven points and 10 rebounds. Ratledge had 5 points, Driver 4, King 3, Erlandsson 2 and Brown 2. Driver also had 6 boards.

“We maintained defensively until four or five minutes to go,” Pittman said. “We were only down three. We just could not get that run going and get the momentum going. I thought we were on our way when we took the lead (on King’s 3). It just wasn’t our night and that happens. I’ll take that once out of 17 games.”

Davie 81, Glenn 51

Despite playing a third game in five days, the War Eagles rediscovered their mojo at the opening tip at Glenn on Jan. 27.

Even though Glenn beat Reynolds by 13 and only lost to West and Reagan by two and three points, Davie ran the Bobcats out of the gym.

“They played Reagan down to the wire (the night before),” Pittman said. “I told the guys this could easily be a trap game if we’re not locked in and still worried about (the loss to East). But they were ready. On the bus ride over, everybody seemed to be focused on what we had to do.”

In the first half, when the margin reached 42-13 by halftime, Davie shot a torrid 58 percent (17 of 29). Ratledge and Powers were a combined 7 for 8 in the half. By contrast, the Bobcats, who missed five shots on one possession, went 4 of 22 for 18 percent.

“This was one of our better games from the jump,” Pittman said. “It was the third game of the week for both teams, so it was pretty much going to be the team that was in better shape and just ready to play.”

Davie’s points came from 13 players: Ratledge 12, Erlandsson 12, Powers 10, Lawhon 9, Mickey 7, Cam Owens 6, King 6, Isaac Swisher 5, Driver 4, Brown 4, CJ Phelps 2, Landon Waller 2, Gavin Williams 2. Erlandsson (5 for 5) hit every shot he tried and Mickey handed out five assists.

“It was a good opportunity to let everybody play,” Pittman said. “Landon and Adam played really well. They just continued their progress.”

Notes: Davie and Mt. Tabor are tied for first at 7-1. West is third at 5-2. Davie and Tabor meet here Friday in a blockbuster matchup. “Our goals are intact,” Pittman said. “We’ve got a shot at a conference title. Everything is right in front of us.” … Glenn fell to 6-12, 0-8. … Davie (17-1 overall) has a four-game winning streak against Glenn.