On Feb. 7, Davis High lost a 10-point decision to Inderkum — an outing that Lady Blue Devil coach Karen Foster called “one of our team’s better games” during a disappointing 10-16 campaign.
The Tigers came to town Tuesday, sporting three returning starters and wins over Delta Valley Conference studs Elk Grove and Franklin.
This season’s matchup would be a good barometer for DHS fans — how improved is this Devil squad?
After a 75-49 spanking of their guests in this nonleague outing, the locals hinted that they are a team to be reckoned with.
“Two things come to mind,” Foster said when asked about where her 2-0 girls are most improved. “You saw (Tuesday) how we finished our shots … then on defense we kept them out of the paint.”
Foster went almost six minutes with her starting five — Ashleigh Vandenbrink, Tori Powell, Rachael Allison, Anna Belenis and Emma Stenz — and the quartet waxed Inderkum, opening a 17-6 lead before getting their first breather.
Using most of her bench in the first half, Foster saw her charges continue on to open a 42-21 halftime bulge.
Freshman Belenis, who didn’t score on the night, had four first-half assists. Her fellow ninth-grader Allison scored all of her six points in the first half, adding two rebounds and an assist.
Add the play of veterans Vandenbrink and Stenz, well, the coach was a happy camper:
“When we play like that … and there’s no drop-off, we can play with anybody.”
The Tigers (2-4) didn’t have an answer for the solid guard play of Davis. Chasing the likes of Belenis, Kylie Drexel, Katie Grahn, Becca Hassid and Caitlin Mazzoleni, Inderkum looked slow once it got to the offensive end.
For the game, the Blue Devils outrebounded their guests, 44-24.
DHS looked crisp early on as Vandenbrink hit a tough leaner inside, then nailed a bucket from 12 feet away. When Powell swiped an IHS pass and went in from half court for another basket, the Devils’ 6-0 mini-run served notice: Any similarity to last season is purely coincidental.
In the second period, Vandenbrink’s no-look pass inside to Stenz was followed by three straight Belenis assists (two to Vandenbrink and one to Allison).
Vandenbrink then hit one of her three treys and the Blue Devils were up 36-14 and weren’t looking back.
In the final minute of the half, Hassid sank two free throws and Grahn’s strong rebound was put back for that 21-point intermission bulge.
It was more of the same in the second half as Drexel fed to Mazzoleni, whose swirling lay-in started a 12-2 Davis run at 4:40 of the third.
Drexel made a nice save of a ball going out of bounds — firing a pass to a cutting Maya Tarasenko for two more. Grahn score off an Allison dish and back-to-back buckets from the acrobatic Powell put DHS’ lead at 58-36.
When Stenz scored and sank a free throw, the Devils had their biggest advantage at 66-41 with 6:49 left in the final stanza.
With the bench cleared down the stretch, Davis fans were treated to one 90-second stretch of déjà vu from junior center Jamie Kingsley, a Da Vinci student.
Not only does the 6-foot post maven sport a physical resemblance to 1970s DHS superstar Denise Curry, for a minute and a half she played like the Olympic gold medalist.
Taking a terrific entry pass from Kira Prieditis, Kingsley spun and banked home a basket. Then, after Curry, er, Kingsley collected her second rebound of the waning moments, she took a Drexel pass in the paint and scored again.
Inderkum, which was 21-6 a year ago, was paced by forward Sakara Brewer’s 15 points and post Kyliah Daniel (11 points with two steals and three boards).
Vandenbrink led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-12 from the field. She added eight rebounds. Stenz, again strong inside, added 14 points with six boards.
Mazzoleni had eight points, as did Powell, and Allison’s six points were followed in the book by five each from Hassid and Grahn.
Notes: There’s no rest for the weary as the Blue Devils now prepared for Thursday’s opening-round game of the Dorothy Speck Memorial Tournament. Davis’ draw is Division-III power River Valley of Yuba City. Game time is 8 p.m. Competition kicks off at 3:30 p.m. with Vacaville Christian squaring off with Chico; followed at 5 p.m. by Granite Bay and Bay Area giant Miramonte; then McQueen (Reno) and last year’s Speck winner Woodcreek at 6:30 p.m. … Cathy Speck, a member of the Devils’ mid-1970s Sac-Joaquin Section championship teams (and a teammate of Curry’s), will be on hand with various family members. The tournament is named in honor of Cathy’s mother.
— Reach Bruce [email protected] or (530) 747-8047.