After an ice-cold shooting performance in the title game of the Bella Vista Tournament three days earlier, the Davis High boys basketball team bounced back to beat Natomas, 80-73, in the Blue Devils’ home opener on Tuesday at the DHS gym.
Some of the chilliness from the previous contest (during which the Devils shot just 7-of-43 from long range in a loss to Granite Bay) was still there at the start of Tuesday’s game. Davis senior Brandon Strong opened up the game with a 3-pointer, but the locals made only two more treys the rest of the quarter.
“We started off slow, maybe it was some of the carryover with the way we ended the last tournament,” said Blue Devil head coach Dan Gonzalez.
By the end of the first period, DHS (3-1) found itself down 20-18, even though it had hit just six of 23 shots.
And in the second quarter, the Nighthawks continued to extend their lead, going on a 10-2 run to open up the period. But in typical fashion, once the Devils got going, they were able to close that gap quickly.
Matt Michaels, who finished with 10 points, drained a 3-pointer, Brett Bloomfield followed with a mid-range jumper and sophomore Ryan Kreidler pulled off a pretty turnaround to cut the lead to 30-27.
However, that was as close as the locals got before halftime, as Natomas would go into the break up 41-35.
But coming out of intermission, Davis got hot again.
Sophomore Glen Welch opened up the scoring by hitting a trey, and senior Ben Crook created contact on a layup, then completed the three-point play.
After Bloomfield hit a short pull-up jumper, Welch splashed in another from downtown and junior Drew Gnos made a layup in heavy traffic, the Blue Devils had overtaken Natomas at 50-47.
And DHS still wasn’t finished.
Strong stole the inbounds bass and turned it into a bucket, then Kreidler stole the following inbounds pass and laid it in.
Next, the Nighthawks carelessly turned the ball over on a overthrown outlet pass, and once again paid the price.
Crook came right down the court and drained a 3-pointer followed by Kreidler stealing yet another inbounds pass and converting the layup.
Moments later, Austin Lampley hit a deep trey off of a Logan Davis steal and Gnos connected from long range as well.
When it was all said and done, the Devils had outscored Natomas 30-14 in the decisive third period.
Kreidler was a huge part of the DHS explosion, and Gonzalez was pleased with the performances of all three of his sophomore standouts: Kreidler, who finished with 12 points, Welch (eight) and Ben Prussel (six).
“They understand what it takes to be part of The System,” Gonzalez said. “I think like every player, they will have their ups and downs, but their challenges will be what they do when they encounter those downs. I had a good talk with them before the season about playing varsity, and this is where they want to be.”
In fact, it was Welch who iced the game for the Blue Devils. With Davis nursing a 76-71 lead with a minute to go, Welch received a pass in the corner, pump-faked to get the perimeter defender to bite, and pump-faked again to get the interior defender in the air.
Welch then pirouetted around the airborne defender and dropped in a layup. Ball game.
“It was a gutsy win for us,” Gonzalez said. “(The) second-half energy was great. Certain guys brought us some energy and that made the difference.”
Notes: Strong led the Devils with 15 points. … Former DHS basketball players Tommy Slabaugh and Tori Powell were both in attendance.
— Reach Thomas Oide at firstname.lastname@example.org