25 Years Ago: Basketball teams dazzle in classic

Published 11:25 am Monday, July 1, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

A look back at Davie sports 25 years ago …

Mitchell Bullard’s never-say-die attitude was the difference in the Davie wrestling team’s 35-34 squeaker over Ashbrook during the 1998-99 season.

In the 125 weight class, Bullard stared technical fall defeat in the face, then turned the outcome upside down with a stunning pin.

“(Brad) Pack did a heckuva coaching job,” coach Buddy Lowery said. “He said: ‘Grab his head. Grab his head.’ And he pinned the sucker. (The Ashbrook kid) fell into a ‘gotcha.’”

The Sam Moir Christmas Classic championship game was the Duane Phillips/Scooter Sherrill show as they dazzled a packed house at Catawba. Phillips pumped in 36 points for the Davie boys basketball team, and Sherrill had 27 for West Rowan, which put a damper on Phillips’ efforts by pulling away 85-69. The War Eagles led on 10 occasions against the 10-0 Falcons and were only down 67-63 in the second half. But West found an extra gear and broke Davie’s 10-game winning streak despite 15 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals from Davie’s 6-7 center, John Orsillo.

In a Moir consolation game, the Davie girls erased a 14-point deficit and beat Salisbury 55-50. Julie McDaniel kept Davie within striking distance by scoring 11 of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter. Two teammates played pivotal roles during a 19-7 run in the fourth. Heather Schleupner had six of her eight points down the stretch, and Tina Harkness hit two go-ahead baskets.

With a senior-laden lineup, this was supposed to be Reynolds’ year in wrestling. Davie brought four freshmen, two sophomores and 10 first-year starters to the mat. But the unfazed War Eagles overrode a 29-18 deficit and won 36-29 to take the driver’s seat in the CPC race. Freshman Cassidy McMahan triggered the decisive surge with a first-period pin at 189. Then Kenny White buried his 215 opponent in 19 seconds. Heavyweight Matt Foster clinched the narrow escape with a third-period pin.

Travis Peacock of the Davie boys nailed down an exciting 79-73 win at South Stokes with two free throws that allowed Phillips’ 40-point performance to stand up. Phillips shot just 12 of 30 from the field but compensated by draining 13 of 14 free throws. “He had 40 points and didn’t have one of his better offensive nights,” coach Jim Young said. With Davie facing a 68-66 deficit, Marcus Lassiter hit one of the game’s biggest shots, a go-ahead 3-pointer. With :29 left, Peacock made both foul shots to put the game on ice, 76-71. Kenny Collins was vital with 13 points and 13 assists.

The unbeaten freshman boys basketball team rode Sean Stevens’ 37 points to a 78-71 win over Reynolds. The 5-6 guard hit 12 of 15 free throws. “Not only did he have 37, he played great defense,” coach Derek Kurnitsky said. The supporting cast included Jason Hogue (12 points), David Wooldridge (10) and Andrew Daywalt (10).

A wrestling showdown against Mt. Tabor turned out to be a beatdown by the War Eagles, who reached the doorstep of their 12th CPC title in 14 years by smothering Tabor 44-21. The weapons that carved out a 35-0 lead were Josh Stanley, Jacob Garner, Pack, Bullard, Adam Bailey, Nick Summers, Cody Angell and Jeremy Sink. Davie’s record rose to 25-1.

The wrestling conference title was on the line when North Davie hosted South Davie on the final day of the regular season. South rolled 45-27, taking advantage of injuries to North’s Chris Hauser, Justin Norsworthy, Jon Goode and Matt Wilson. Carson Glass, Larry Hudson and Scott Maxwell staked South to a 12-0 lead. South’s Billy Riddle got a pin, but North’s Josh Darnell, Clint Stanley and Colt Stanley sliced the Tigers’ lead to 18-15. South surged ahead 33-15 with pins from Michael Clement and Timmy Redmon and a 7-0 decision from Ryan Barber. North’s Armand Vonsiatsky won 4-1, but South had an insurmountable 39-18 lead after Adrian Pacheco’s pin. South (11-0) completed a perfect season, while North finished 12-1. “We made more money on the gate than we usually make in five athletic events,” North coach Ron Kirk said.

West Forsyth took a five-point lead in the third, but the Davie girls stormed back to win 54-47. Noel Shields nailed clutch shots, including four 3s, to finish with a season-high 15 points. Harkness turned in 12 for the third straight game. Schleupner also had 12.

The South Davie eighth-grade girls wrapped up a season they’ll remember forever in the Piedmont Conference Tournament final at Erwin, where the Tigers whipped North Rowan 38-23 to finish 17-0. Brittany Walker (11 points) and Ryanne McDaniel (10) led the way for a juggernaut that stomped opponents by an average margin of 47-21. The top three season scoring averages: Walker 11.8, McDaniel 8.8 and Sarah Williams 8.4.

The Davie freshman boys’ dream season continued at Reynolds, where they flipped a 14-point deficit into a 14-point victory (65-51). Stevens (27 points) surpassed 20 for the seventh time. Wooldridge added 14 as Davie improved to 12-1.

Phillips delivered more legendary stuff in the Davie boys’ 92-72 win over South Stokes, hitting 20 of 25 field goals and scoring 43 points. Collins had a ridiculous 17 assists, and Orsillo was a beast inside with 18 points. “That’s shocking,” Phillips said of his scoring total. “I wouldn’t have had that if it wasn’t for (Collins) and some of my other teammates who are so unselfish.”

In the Western Regional final, Davie 160-pounder Chris Bender gutted out a pin to seal a 39-27 win over Ashbrook, the record-setting 30th win for Davie and a berth in the state dual team final. “He had me,” Bender said. “He was choking me. I couldn’t breathe. I just said to myself: ‘This kid can be beat.’ And I didn’t give up.”

With Tabor sporting a 15-6 record and the Davie girls limping at 6-13, the War Eagles pulled off the biggest upset of the CPC season with a 45-39 road win. After dropping the first meeting by 16, the War Eagles led throughout the second half. The Big Three was Schleupner (14 points, 11 rebounds), Shields (10 points) and Harkness (10 points, 6 assists, 3 steals).

With Daywalt scoring 14 and Stevens 13, the Davie freshmen avenged their only loss in 17 games, winning 52-35 over Tabor.  “Daywalt had the greatest game he’s ever had,” Kurnitsky said. Neil Rice disrupted Tabor’s bigs and came up with seven steals in the first half alone. “He just dominated and bullied people around,” Kurnitsky said.

Adam Bailey, a gifted four-year starter for Davie wrestling, finished second in the state at 125 and closed a 123-27 career at Independence Arena in Charlotte. In the finals, David Crooke of Fayetteville 71st edged Bailey 4-2 to end his season at 37-6. Davie’s other four state qualifiers were Pack (37-6 season record), Summers (28-5), Sink (35-5) and White (31-6).

In the first round of the CPC Tournament, the Davie girls could do no wrong, shooting an incredible 56 percent and blasting West Forsyth 67-26. Schleupner scored 17, Shields 11 and Harkness collected seven points, eight assists and five rebounds.