Published 12:00 am Friday, January 25, 2013
MOCKSVILLE — Two days ago Mike Absher glanced at the CPC standings and saw something ugly.
“We were 1-2 in the league,” the longtime Davie County boys basketball coach said Thursday night, just hours after the War Eagles had dropped their second straight decision. “We felt like we were better than that, but this is a great league and you’ve got to bring it every night.”
Fast-forward to yesterday’s rescheduled conference match with visiting North Davidson. Davie brought it and brought it in large doses, regained its traction and made off with a 77-60 victory.
“I like winning games, but you learn something when you lose,” junior Cody Martin said after third-place Davie (13-3, 2-2) used a quick start to banish to Black Knights. “We’ve had some tough games. We should have won Tuesday (an 81-78 loss to Reagan). In that sense, it was nice to bounce back.”
If you sense a tinge of disappointment in Martin’s words, it’s understandable. A year ago the War Eagles came within one loss of reaching the 4A state championship game. Another long postseason run is almost expected this winter, but they’ll have to fight their way back.
“I’m confident we’ll win the CPC and make a run in the states,” said junior guard Austin Hatfield. “The games we’ve lost — Reagan, Mount Tabor and Olympic — were all close games against teams that are ranked really high.”
Davie looked like it belonged in that conversation in the first quarter against ND (7-9, 1-3). It connected on five 3-pointers, played alert defense and jumped to a 29-11 lead.
“Our guys came out early and set the tone,” Absher said. “Our ball movement was exceptional and we closed out on their shooters really hard. It was one thing offense and one thing defense.”
Martin, who scored a team-high 16 points despite picking up two personals in the opening four minutes, is half of Davie’s twin-powers frontcourt. His brother Caleb — also 6-foot-7 — helped the hosts crack the game open with a couple of jackhammer jams late in the first period.
“Whenever one of the Martins go out, that’s 6-7 on the bench,” Hatfield said after draining three long balls and netting 14 points. “It was nice when Cody came back and we had both of them on the floor. ”
North figured some things out in the second and third quarters and drew as close as 59-49 when Chase Mitchell buried a 3-pointer from left side with 26 seconds to play in the third. Caleb Martin (15 points) answered immediately with a trey to close the quarter.
The War Eagles maintained their distance in the final period and led by as many as 19 points when Kenyon Tatum sank the first of two free throws with 1:49 remaining.
Oddly, several of the War Eagles felt unfulfilled after the one-sided vitory. “It’s kind of where our expectations have gotten to,” Absher said afterward. “We won by 17 points and didn’t feel great about how we played. To their credit they recognize that and feel we can be a better team.”
Just how much better? “If we come together and share the ball, we can be state champs,” Martin answered. “We’re just as good as last year.”
NOTES: Davie visits West Forsyth on Tuesday. … Haleigh Hatfield scored 25 points as Davie won the girls game, 76-60. Amy Stellar added 18 and Madison Zaferatos 17 for DC (9-9, 1-4 CPC).
NORTH DAVIDSON (60) — Mitchell 24, Easter 14, Cunningham 6, Phillips 4, Wooten 3, Tuttle 3, Arrowood 2, McDowell 2, Skothy 2.
DAVIE (77) — Co.Martin 16, Ca. Martin 15, A.Hatfield 14, T.Hatfield 12, Tatum 9, Carney 6, Banner 3, Bennett 2, Campbell, Boyette, Colamarino, Parnell,
N. Davidson 11 17 21 11 — 60
Davie 29 15 18 15 — 77