Girls take two surprise wins

Posted at 8:39 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25, 2023

By Brian Pitts

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The Davie women’s varsity basketball team did something pretty amazing last week.

Before we get to the monumental week, let’s go back to December 9. That night, Davie trailed Reynolds the entire game and lost 55-47. Four days later, the War Eagles lost 48-36 to East Forsyth. That made Davie 0-12 against East since when East joined the Central Piedmont Conference in 2017-18. Not only was Davie 0-12 in the series, but the losses were 38, 27, 20, 21, 25, 53, 46, 20, 44, 30, 50 and 12 points.

Now let’s see how the rematches went. (You better sit down now.) Davie destroyed Reynolds 58-22 at Winston-Salem on Jan. 17. Three days later, the War Eagles knocked out East 49-38. Both teams were in first place when they met Davie.

After that loss at East on Dec. 13, the War Eagles were 2-5 overall, 0-2 in the CPC and mired in a four-game losing streak. Since then, they’re 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the league for the best 12-game streak in eight years. Talk about a feel-good story, they’re 12-7 overall after winning 12 games in the last three seasons combined.

How the hell did they do that?

“We have jerseys that say ‘culture wins,'” coach Lindsey Adams said. “We have embraced the culture that we have been building for three years. We’re not like Forsyth County where you can transfer and come and go. You have to build and we are finally building this program. We play together all year and we finally get results.

Davie 58, Reynolds 22

The Demons were 13-4 and tied with East Forsyth for first. No one in the CPC has had more wins than Reynolds, who picked up a nine-point win over East. Reynolds had also beaten Parkland by eight, the same Parkland that had beaten Davie by 27.

But not only did the War Eagles eliminate the Demons, they knocked them out of the gym. In fact, the Demons, who averaged 49.7 points, were outscored by a player from Davie – Kenadi Gentry.

“I saw it in spurts, but they never put it together from start to finish in a big game like this,” Adams said. “We saw it when we played against people we should beat. I was very, very happy with the way we played top to bottom.

What a night for Gentry, who exploded for the most points by a War Eagle in 131 games. The junior point guard scored 28 on 10 of 16 shots, including 4 of 8 from the 3-point arc. She converted 4 of 5 free throws, made five interceptions and increased her average to 20.5 in four games.

Once, Gentry intercepted a pass, switched to the left hand when she got to the basket and scored when fouled. She later dribbled between the legs before hitting a step back 3. She threw six straight shots during a stretch, four of which were 3s. It was the most points since Sha’veh Martinez scored 31 in a 64-56 loss at North Davidson in January 2017.

“Yeah, she had 28 points, but what people might not realize is that she leads our team in assists,” Adams said. “It’s something I’ve talked to her about a lot because the college coaches who talk to me are looking for a playmaker, not a shooter. I think it’s because she’s able to create so much for other people. that sometimes they help him.

Davie had a six-point possession in the third quarter. When a Gentry 3 fell through the hoop, a foul was called on Reynolds and Davie retained possession. Then Peyton Spaugh hit a 3 to push the margin to 34-10. There was a stretch where Davie made 11 of 13 shots. It was wonderful.

While Davie couldn’t miss, Reynolds had a miserable time against Davie’s 2-1-2 zone.

“We played the same defense (as the first meeting), but I was able to watch the movie and see where we didn’t execute and we adjusted that defense,” Adams said. “We never had to get away with it because they just couldn’t score.”

Spaugh (11 points, five rebounds, three steals) and Somer Johnson (10 points, seven rebounds, four assists) were major factors as Davie snapped a three-game losing streak in the series.

“In practice, we emphasized the offensive boards, and in the first quarter the offensive boards were huge. And Somer really dialed in there,” Adams said.

Malayka Rankin had five points, four rebounds and three assists. Lauren Colamarino had two points, six boards and two assists. Keelyn Oakes had two runs.

“(It) showed how much our girls have grown,” Adams said. “We play with confidence and play together.”

Davie 49, EF 38

The upstart War Eagles were expected to be at their best against first-place East Forsyth here on Friday – and they were. The 27-9 lead in the first half was magical. East came back strong in the second half, but Davie weathered the storm and ended an epic week.

“It’s really tough to knock out the No. 1 team twice in the same week, not to mention the margins we made,” Adams said. “Turn around and start again shows confidence, how much the team buys the program, trusts the game plan and executes it even when East started fighting back.”

During a 16-4 run in the first half, Gentry hit a 3, scored on a steal/lay-up and converted a jumper into a dribble between the legs and back. Rankin attacked the lane and scored when she was fouled. Johnson hit a triple, sank a pull-up, then spun into the lane and hit a running hook. Spaugh snatched a defensive rebound and carried it all the way up the field for two.

Davie shot 45% in the first half to give him a 29-16 lead.

But East came out spitting fire in the third quarter. Senior Tovia Rooks scored eight hastily in an 18-4 run that cut Davie’s lead to 31-27.

Davie responded with an 8-2 push. Sydney Dirks hit an 18-footer, Johnson made a 3, and Gentry stole and finished on the other end as Davie took a 39-29 lead. But then Rooks hit straight 3s, giving him six triples for the game, to cut Davie’s lead to 39-35. This streak drew the ire of Adams, who called timeout with Davie up at 41-35.

“I said we were going to pack the paint, but if somebody starts hitting 3s, you gotta get away with it,” she said. “So, yeah, I was a bit disappointed with that. But they rallied.

Outside of the timeout, Davie responded with a magnificent game. Johnson, coming in past Davie’s bench, threw to Rankin, who quickly found Spaugh. Spaugh’s touch pass led to a Colamarino layup.

“That play was actually a failure,” Adams said. ” It did not work ; they cheated on the game. But the movement of the ball shows how confident we are.

East’s Trinity Hairston hit it just 3 of the night to make it 43-38 with 56 left, but Gentry, Rankin and Spaugh put the game away at the free throw line. Davie missed 15 of 20 field goals in the second half, but made up for it by sinking 8 of 12 foul shots in the fourth.

Gentry, who made 5 of 9 field goals and 6 of 8 free throws, had 17 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three assists in another outstanding performance. Johnson had 11 points. Colamarino had seven points and 11 rebounds. Spaugh had six points and seven rebounds. Rankin had six points and 10 boards. Dirks had two points.

But one of the biggest keys to the game was Davie’s box-and-one against La’Niya Simes, 6-0 senior, a 1,000-point scorer heading to Winston-Salem State. Spaugh and Dirks took turns chasing Simes, and their defense against the reigning CPC Player of the Year was stifling. She scored two field goals and finished with six points.

“It shows how tough (Spaugh and Dirks) are,” Adams said. “Everyone worked together in the box. I take no credit for that; that’s how my girls are playing right now.

Remarks: East fell to 11-5. … Reynolds (7-2) and East (6-2) are 1-2 in the CPC, but Davie (6-3) and Parkland (6-3) are tied for third and close. Reagan is 4-5, West Forsyth 3-5, Mt. Tabor 3-6, Glenn 0-9. … Davie’s top five averages: Gentry 12.7, Johnson 10.3, Rankin 7.9, Spaugh 6.6 and Colamarino 5.3.

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