Girls go cold in title game

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie girls basketball team’s feel-good run in the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament was smashed by No. 1 Mt. Tabor in the championship game at Davie on Feb. 23. It was buried by a sudden power that didn’t care about the Cinderella story.

After going 11-12 and finishing seventh in the CPC last year, the Spartans (22-5) blew past No. 3 Davie 66-43, stretched their winning streak to 12 and reinforced the fact that they’re the class of the conference in 2023-24.

Despite the lopsided outcome, there’s no doubt Davie coach Lindsey Adams is creating something special. She carried three seniors (one of whom hasn’t played all year), one sophomore and five freshmen to Davie’s first finals appearance in 21 years.

“I told them we are building something here, and you made it here as a young team,” Adams said.

Tabor defeated Davie by 23 and 31 in the regular season, and the championship game unfolded similarly.

The only exception was the beginning of the game. A Peyton Spaugh fast break layup, an Emmie Burris floater from the baseline and a Malayka Rankin drive to the basket gave Davie a 6-2 lead. That coincided with Tabor missing its first five shots.

The early momentum was short-lived, though. Tabor went on a 35-10 run over the rest of the first half. Davie missed 13 straight shots and 11 consecutive 3s before Madison Daugherty hit a bomb to trim the deficit to 26-11.

Davie needed a monster effort from beyond the arc. It didn’t happen as it went 1 for 17 from long range in the first half, which saw Tabor carve out a 37-16 advantage.

“I put an emphasis on you’ve got to shoot the first open shot,” Adams said. “The more we pass it around trying to get the ball inside will lead to turnovers, like the first two times we played them. The game plan was to take the first good shot with confidence. I think they were good shots. We were either amped up or … Our shooters are sophomores and freshmen.

“Every game they have lost, they were losing in the first quarter, which is why I put a big emphasis on the first quarter. They have not had to play from behind much. The game plan was to get after them early like we did against Parkland, like we did against East Forsyth here.”

Nothing changed in the second half. Tabor kept hitting 3s, it never missed from the free-throw line and Davie suffered more offensive blues (23 percent for the game).

The Spartans’ overall shooting was nothing special (35 percent), but they were lethal from 3 (10 for 19) and they were unbelievable from the line (18 for 18).

While Davie’s top scorer had eight points, Tabor placed four experienced players in double figures. Senior Ava Hairston had 17, senior Kleiauna Riddick and junior Ashleigh Fulp had 16 each and junior Shaymiah Bailey had 10.

“We could not buy a basket,” Adams said. “I talked about my state championship game. I went 4 for 5 from 3. I knew I had to hit shots, but I was also a senior, so that moment did not faze me. But when you’re freshmen with a big crowd, big stage, championship game, I think it rattled them a little bit.”

Spaugh had eight points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists. Bailey Aderhold had six points. Burris had six points on 3-of-3 shooting, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Avarie Martin had five points, 10 rebounds and two assists. Makenzie Gentry had five points. Rankin had four points, five rebounds and three steals. Vivian Vaughters had four points, Daugherty three and Londyn McDowell two.

The War Eagles (16-11) qualified for the state playoffs and received the No. 28 seed in the 32-team West Regional. It traveled to No. 5 Northern Guilford on Feb. 27. The second round is Feb. 29.