Davie County boys advance with win over Comets

Published 11:38 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

By David Shaw


SALISBURY — Someone must have set Davie County’s alarm clock for 8 o’clock Thursday night.

The War Eagles shook off a sluggish first half, emerged from the depths of Goodman Gym armed with renewed vigor and an altered strategy, and scurried past North Stanly, 61-47 — advancing to the Dale’s Sporting Goods/Sam Moir Christmas Classic semifinals.

“That was as tough a win as we’ve had in a long time,” boys basketball coach Mike Absher said after fourth-seeded Davie (8-2) hurdled into tonight’s 7:30 p.m. match-up with No. 1 seed Carson. “Things weren’t really going well and we were kind of flat, with not much energy. For us to gut that out and win the way we did was impressive. I saw a lot of toughness tonight.”

He did, but not until Davie switched to a triangle-and-two defense that effectively neutralized feisty North Stanly sniper Bryson Childress and 6-foot-6 teammate Jason Doerr. Then it rode junior Owen McCormack’s double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds), Jason Hendrix’s fearless second-half advances and Cooper Wall’s sagacious guidance to a convincing victory.

“I think it all started on the defensive end,” said Wall, the 6-2 senior who contributed 17 points and seven assists. “Going to that triangle-and-two was huge. Coach drew it out on the board at halftime and basically told the guards, ‘That’s our job.’ It woke us up and we wound up playing the game we wanted to play.”

North coach Chris Misenheimer called the loss “a missed opportunity,” after the Comets (5-4) held a 26-20 halftime edge.

“They made a second-half adjustment that we never responded to,” Misenheimer said. “In the first half against their man-to-man, we did a better job on the boards and had more movement. Then they made a change that we weren’t prepared for. We didn’t do a good job attacking that triangle-and-two.”

Davie spent much of the first half playing catch-up — and finally did when Michael Walton’s 3-pointer from the left corned tied the score with 1:32 on the clock. But North used successive threes by Childress — the second with Brooks Johnson in his face and just three seconds remaining in the half — to build a six-point halftime lead.

“We weren’t expecting them to come out and play like that,” McCormack said after shooting 6-for-8 from the floor. “It just hit us in the face. That was uncharacteristic of us.”

Davie began running its comeback route in the third period, when McCormack buried three 3-balls and scored 13 points. Hendrix added nine third-quarter points — two on a sledgehammer dunk and two more when Wall fed him for a layup-and-one combination that provided a 39-30 lead with 2:12 remaining.

“I give them credit for listening to me and going out and picking it up,” Absher said. “I mean, we had lost two in a row, hadn’t played for a few days and had a sleepy first half tonight. And even though you practice hard, you’re never sure what might happen.”

Childress scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the first half. He finished 8-for-22 from the field and fouled out in the final minute. Doerr made five of seven field goal attempts and scored 14 points, while senior Rylei Smith had 10 rebounds. But the Comets weren’t able to overcome their 25 percent shooting (7-for-28) in the second half.

“I liked that we didn’t quit,” Misenheimer said. “Davie’s got some solid, tough kids who are fundamentally sound. And they can all shoot the ball.”

NOTES: Hendrix finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Wall and Michael Walton each knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. … North will face eighth-seeded West Rowan (4-6) in today’s 1:30 p.m. second-round game. … Carson (10-0) made eight 3-pointers in a 77-61 win against Davie on Dec. 19. “We’re ready for another opportunity to play them,” Wall said.

NORTH STANLY (47) — Childress 25, Doerr 14, Smith 4, Lowder 2, Clark 2, Lamp, Watkins, Cord.

DAVIE CO. (61) — McCormack 18, Wall 17, Hendrix 13, Walton 11, Barnette 2, Griggs, Wilson, Wood, Johnson, Redmond.

North Stanly       12    14    6    15 — 47

Davie Co.              6    14    24   17 — 61