DHS coach Dan Gonzalez works with his team — including senior Grant Dickerson (43) — at a practice earlier this season. The Blue Devils are getting set for a Thursday matchup with Colfax as they will host the Les Curry Invitational this weekend. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise file photo


All eyes on Blue Devils’ scorching offense as tourney nears

By From page B1 | December 12, 2012

At 5-2 and averaging more than 90 points per game, the Davis High boys basketball team will attract a lot of attention at this weekend’s Les Curry Invitational Tournament.

Sure, the Blue Devils have been so-so in their own tournament over the years (they’ve won one title in the gathering’s nine years), but this time around it looks like DHS might have the horses and senior leadership — as well as a coach and a roster — that can make their high-octane offense do serious scoreboard damage.

And judging from last week’s Honk Williams tourney performance (a 102-92 loss to Armijo on Friday was followed by an 86-68 win over Vacaville in Saturday’s third-place game), the Devils learn from their mistakes. That’s a trait that bodes well for the future — especially since Davis has been woeful over the past five years once the calendar flips to the new year.

A peek at post-Jan. 1 Blue Devil play shows a 18-48 mark since the 2007-08 season.

Coach Dan Gonzalez, in his 15th season, isn’t jumping ahead. However, he knows his team is loaded, far different from last winter’s 14-12, non-playoff edition …

“In all fairness to last year’s squad, this year we have several players that get to run ‘The System’ for a second year,” Gonzalez explains. “This has made teaching to the entire team much easier for everyone.

“Our depth is good for all positions and the team has come together very nicely.”

Scorching the nets for 93 ppg, DHS is the highest-scoring prep team west of the Colorado River. It can launch as many as 100 shots a night and, when all cylinders are firing, the century mark is never safe.

Three times this year, the Blue Devils have gone over 100 points, including a school-record 108 in a Dec. 4 win at Natomas.

Gonzalez, who lost assistant coaches George Sousa and The System creator Gary Smith in the offseason, has done some tweaking to the philosophy, bringing more defense into the fold and allowing the players with hot hands to stay on the hardwood longer.

Benefiting from the changes has been senior guard Hayden Russell, who has a 20 ppg average and can be counted on for on-court heart and solid defense.

Kevin Sorensen — a wizard on the baseline — has joined fellow senior Grant Dickerson in getting more minutes, and the result is 14 ppg and almost five boards a night. Dickerson is hitting 10 points per game and is a problem for foes on the defensive end.

Mix in junior bombardier Brandon Strong (13 ppg) and five other Devils scoring around five a night and, well … no wonder scoring records are falling (45 points in a quarter, 78 in a half, 54 3-point tries, etc.).

But when the long-range shots don’t fall (like a 10-for-54 outing in the loss to Armijo) DHS can get in trouble.

“We had some problems with recovery from our full-court traps,” Gonzalez says of the Armijo setback. “But the players did a great job in addressing this issue (against Vacaville the next night).”

So, with seven diverse schools heading to town for the 10th running of the Curry, who are the front-runners?

“There is no doubt that Chico (7-0) will be the top team in the field,” Gonzalez says. “I also think that Wood, Colfax and Christian Brothers will be very competitive teams.

“As far as the Blue Devils go? We have a solid chance of making a run at the championship.”

The Les Curry tourney opens on Thursday with Wood (3-3) and Center (0-7) at 4 p.m. American Canyon (2-5) and Chico play at 5:30 p.m. in what could be the opening round’s only mismatch. Davis meets Colfax (5-2) at 7 p.m. and the evening ends with Christian Brothers (3-2) against Natomas (0-3) at 8:30 p.m.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.

Bruce Gallaudet

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