ELK GROVE — Even though Laguna Creek came into Wednesday’s boys basketball matchup against Davis High with just one Delta Valley Conference win, the Blue Devils didn’t need to do much research to know how tough the Cardinals could be.
When these two teams met in Davis on Jan. 24, DHS needed a 3-pointer by senior standout Brandon Strong with less than 10 seconds left to secure a victory.
On Wednesday, with LCHS having home-court advantage, the Devils came up short, 77-66, to fall to 4-4 in DVC play and 15-9 overall.
By holding Davis to 32 percent shooting (22-of-69), the Cards improved to 11-14 overall and 2-6 in league play.
Though the locals trailed by just one point after the first quarter, and trailed by that same margin entering the fourth, Blue Devil coach Dan Gonzalez pointed to that opening period as the one that got away.
“We should have done something in that first quarter,” Gonzalez said. “We missed a couple of open layups that hurt.
“We knew it was going to be tough. They’ve played some close games, including almost beating us at home.”
DHS was led by Brett Bloomfield, who made a pair of 3-pointers to finish with 13 points. He added five assists and five steals and earned praise from Gonzalez:
“I thought Brett played a pretty good. He was definitely our most energetic guy.”
But the normally high-scoring Devils made just 11-of-38 from beyond the arc and had just one other player reach double figures — Strong with 11. Matt Michael added nine points for Davis, while Nate Curtis made two treys for six points.
The Blue Devils’ playoff hopes certainly took a hit with the loss, especially with just two games remaining. DHS is at Monterey Trail on Friday before returning home for Senior Night on Tuesday night (7 p.m.) against Grant.
“I think we have to have these next two (to make the playoffs),” Gonzalez said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”
And that task may be even tougher if Strong, who tweaked his ankle in Wednesday’s second period but gutted it out for the rest of the game, can’t go on Friday. Gonzalez said he is day-to-day.
“It just makes it even more of a team effort if Brandon is out because he is a guy that can make big shots for us,” the coach explained.