DHS boys await playoff seeding after loss to Franklin

By From page B1 | February 10, 2013

ELK GROVE — In the high-flying Davis High offense called The System, one of the objects is to get up a cargo-ship full of 3-point shots, crash the boards and clean up underneath.

Defense? It can take a backseat in the offensive-minded scheme.

On Friday at Franklin, in a key game for positioning in the Sac-Joaquin Section power rankings, the Blue Devils got their shots, kept remarkably good care of the basketball (only 10 turnovers) and showed great energy throughout — but lost, 73-59.

Two things — missing 36 of 48 shots behind the arc and getting beat 43-35 on the boards — cost DHS dearly. The Wildcats, meanwhile, often managed to spread the court and kill precious seconds throughout. They also shot 53 percent — taking advantage of 18 assists.

And because FHS (14-13, 7-3 in Delta Valley Conference) probably protected its No. 11 ranking (despite not accumulating the otherwise required 15 victories), it now joins Davis (last rated No. 13) in the Division I postseason.

Brackets will be released Wednesday, according to the CIF website. Regardless of their ranking, the Devils (16-10, 6-4) have lived to play another day.

Franklin finished second behind DVC champion Grant (20-7, 8-2), while DHS and Laguna Creek (15-12, 6-4) tied for third place. The Pacers and Cardinals will head off to the D-II playoffs.

Early in Friday’s season finale, the Wildcats looked like they were fashioning a blowout …

Fessal Aziz canned a trey, John Moscoso went inside for a nifty lay-in, then assisted on a couple Victor Rustin tallies, and when Davis looked up at the scoreboard with 2:20 remaining in the first period, Franklin was streaking, 19-7.

But Blue Devil Brandon Strong nailed a 3-pointer to close out the quarter and then two treys from Grant Dickerson, and other triples by Tommy Slabaugh and Hayden Russell brought the locals to within four at 29-25.

Baskets by Hayden Duer and James Kilkenny helped answer a Wildcat mini-run (6-0) and the scored settled in at 38-31 at intermission.

Unfortunately for DHS, it missed 15 consecutive shots in a stretch that began during the final 1:43 of the second period and lasted deep into the third quarter.

The cold spell allowed Franklin to take a 46-32 advantage before C.K. Hicks landed sank one from 3-point range.

Duer followed with a couple of charity tosses and Slabaugh and Strong hit treys of their own as Davis inched back.

But despite getting the shots they wanted, the Devils just couldn’t convert. DHS’ late futility was enough to keep the Wildcats’ collective nose in front — the homestanders managing to answer each time their visitors made a move.

Dickerson, coming off an 0-for-7 shooting game in Wednesday’s super-emotional 67-65 win over Monterey Trail, had the touch on this night.

The 6-foot-3 defensive specialist recorded five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. He and Matt Michael — starting in place of Kevin Sorensen, who did not play — each collected a Devil team-high six rebounds.

Russell was perfect at the free-throw line (6-for-6) and went on to score 14 while dishing out three assists and snagging four rebounds.

Strong had a block and five boards to go with his eight points. Slabaugh, whose energized floor time sparked a couple of Davis comebacks, collected three boards and hit two long-range shots for six points.

Duer worked hard to inside, collecting a basket and sinking a couple free throws.

Notes: Now the Devils can take a collective breath (spirited wins over Laguna Creek and Monterey Trail secured DHS its third postseason appearance in coach Dan Gonzalez’ 15 years at the helm). The last playoff experience came in 2010, a first-round loss at Rodriguez. Last season, Davis just missed postseason play when it dropped its final two games to finish at 14-12. … Franklin’s Angelo Bell-Lytell paced all scorers with 23 points. Rustin had 17 and guard Moscoso went 11-for-12 on free throws to finish with 13. … The Wildcats were 28-of-53 shooting and committed 14 turnovers.

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

Bruce Gallaudet

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