Tuesday, January 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Blue Devil boys hope to repeat run to playoffs

By
January 11, 2011 |

Enterprise staff writer

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It\’s time to shake the cobwebs out.

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Delta Valley Conference play is upon the Davis High boys basketball team — and going into league with a seven-game losing streak is not what anybody had in mind, especially after that 7-1 start.

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Is it realistic — given the injury to leading scorer Tim Mohr and the recent reversal of fortune — to think that the Blue Devils (7-8) can compete for a second-straight playoff berth, or even DVC title?

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“Obviously, not having Mohr in the lineup does make winning the league a bigger challenge,” 11th-year mentor Dan Gonzalez explains. “We will probably have to go 6-4 … in order to get into the playoffs.

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“The big key for us will be controlling the tempo of a game and shooting a higher percentage than the preseason. We cannot afford to have any more players getting hurt or missing practices or games.”

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With sophomore Kevin Sorensen in the starting lineup Saturday in the double-overtime loss at Dixon, the Devils showed renewed energy and were in control at halftime while shooting 14-of-26 through intermission. When the shots stopped falling in the second half, the Rams came back and won the thriller.

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Gonzalez thinks with seniors Graham McDaniel, Bryce Thompson and Tyler DeLaughder joining Tyler Sousa in most starting alignments that the locals have enough firepower to get back to the playoffs.

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“I feel there are several players — Thompson, Ilanko Nataraajan, Bryan Hensley, Elvis Bikoba and Sorensen — that have made huge strides over the last couple of weeks. This gives us as good a chance as anyone else in the league to be competitive in every game,” adds the coach.

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With that said, and the Blue Devils ready to host newcomer Grant (8-7) in the conference opener at DHS on Wednesday, the DVC frontrunner still feels like last year\’s champion Franklin.

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A quick look around the league…

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Monterey Trail (12-3) — Coming off an ordinary season, 13-14, the Mustangs have punch in senior guards Ota Okungbowa (17 ppg) and Brandon Ogle (13 ppg). Samuel Saunders is a 6-fooot-1 junior averaging nine a night and Antwan Ashley is load in the middle at 6-5.

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Averaging more than 60 points a night, Monterey Trail was on an eight-game win streak before losing on Saturday, 59-58, to Folsom.

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The Trail topped Rodriguez, 75-61, last month … a team Davis lost to in the first round of the 2009-10 playoffs, 62-31.

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Franklin (10-5) — It\’s tough enough spelling Chukwuemeka Iroegbu… Try guarding him.

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The 6-3 senior wing is a free-throw short of averaging 20 points a game. His five assists a night are a team high and his seven rebounds per game trail only Theo Johnson (who at 6-5 gets eight caroms and 15 ppg).

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The Wildcats went 26-6 last year, were runners-up in the Sac-Joaquin Section toournament and are coming off a 55-35 victory over El Cerrito in Saturday\’s Father Barry Classic at Jesuit.

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One Franklin-Davis matchup last season provided regional fans a thrill when the Devils stopped the then-No. 1 \’Cats, 58-50, on the road.

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Laguna Creek (8-5) — Slick senior guard Chris Carvin returns and takes up where he left off — averaging 19 ppg and running the offense. Backcourt mate Shaquilled Cornelius is putting in 12 a game.

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The Cardinals have five consecutive wins and are seeing 6-foot-6 junior center Frank Obi start to emerge, at least on defense.

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Last season, The Creek was 16-11 and beat Davis twice (by a total margin of four points).

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Elk Grove (2-11) — What happened to the once-mighty Thundering Herd? Last month, Elk Grove finished last in its own Cartwright Classic (named after NBA standout Bill Cartwright, an EGHS grad), it\’s on a seven-game skid and its top scorer is junior guard Ryan Murray, barely at 12 a game.

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The last time the Herd had a winning season was 2007-08 (20-9), but longtime Elk Grove coach Rudy Ortega thinks he has a good one developing in junior center Jason Williams.

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Grant (8-7) — James Sample, a 6-4 senior wing, is the Pacer\’s go-to guy, averaging 14 ppg.

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Center Charles Dollar is a 10-board kinda guy and when Grant gets hot, it sizzles…

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Four times in preseason, the Pacers have gone over 86 points.

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First-year coach Deonard Wilson loves to run and try full-court harassment with a quick defense.

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Grant was 16-10 and a playoff team in its old Metro League.

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