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Devils girls slip past the Bulldogs

By November 29, 2010

Enterprise staff writer

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To almost no one\’s surprise, senior sisters Malika and Khaliya Wilkins provided the drive as Davis High captured a 56-52 CIF Foundation Game victory over visiting Vacaville on Monday night in a

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doubleheader with the DHS boys.

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While the win doesn\’t count in the record book — Foundation games are fundraisers which are

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considered exhibition games — the outcome certainly will figure to improve the psyche of this year\’s Lady Blue Devils.

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“The focus of the whole team, and the communication, through the whole game was awesome,” sixth-year DHS head coach Jeff Christian said. “The bench, on the court … communication was good.”

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Malika Wilkins, the leading scorer on last year\’s 8-19 Devil squad, scored 20 points and forced five turnovers, while sister Khaliya played floor general with five steals, four rebounds and four assists.

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Malika Wilkins scored 17 after intermission before fouling out in the waning minutes of the game.

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Though starting slowly and trailing 28-22 at halftime, Davis stretched the Bulldog defense in the second half, finally taking the lead with a 6-0 flurry halfway through the third period.

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In that stretch, freshman Capriana Christian had a couple of rebounds and Ashleigh Vandenbrink tallied back-to-back baskets that gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game — 33-32 with 3:26 left the third quarter.

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From there, it remained nip and tuck, but DHS slowly pulled away.

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Sophomore Ali Campos laid in a Malika Wilkins pass, then Wilkins bombed one of her two treys and suddenly the locals were up 42-37.

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Christian thought part of the early problem for the Devils was their fullcourt press getting caught flat-footed by Vacaville\’s 6-foot center Brianna French.

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French, who collected 26 rebounds in two Bulldog wins over Davis last year, was having a field day sneaking behind the defense, scoring 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting.

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“At times our press was letting up easy points,” Christian pointed out. “It was aggressive at times, but we quit working hard in spots. We\’ll work on that. Even when your press is working well, you\’ll give up some of those easy layups.”

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But it\’s not supposed to be many. All of Vacaville\’s 21 baskets came in the paint. French and Cheyenne Shepherd (3-of-4 inside) had something to do with that. But Christian realizes his girls will have to bang a little more down low as the season progresses.

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Often scintillating, DHS\’ defense forced 20 turnovers. But in trying to find successful combinations from among 16 players, Christian also saw his girls cough up the ball 23 times.

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“Some of those were good,” the coach promised. “We were being aggressive.”

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Vandenbrink, a sophomore forward, had 11 points and five rebounds and was the catalyst as the Devils caught up to the Bulldogs. She also had two steals and an assist.

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At one point, with Capriana Christian, Campos, Vandenbrink and Jordan Banwarth on the floor, DHS had two freshmen and two sophomores working with senior Khaliya Wilkins.

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Depth and youthful energy are two things that Christian said his team had plenty of coming into this season.

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The campaign starts for real today when Yuba City comes to The Cage for a 7 p.m. nonleague encounter. The Honkers were 4-20 last year.

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