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DHS boys lose Mohr then just a game

By December 31, 2010

Enterprise staff writer

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What began as a trip designed to test the Davis High boys basketball team\’s mettle against some of the West Coast\’s best programs has finished pretty much a nightmare.

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While Blue Devils coach Dan Gonzalez praised his players for “a good effort against some very good teams,” the locals nonetheless lost all four of their games in the ESPN/iScore Classic in San Diego County.

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The Devils\’ most recent setback — a 47-45 overtime loss to Spanish Springs on Thursday morning — came without two key players.

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Most troubling was the news about forward Tim Mohr.

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After a hard fall near the end of a 58-55 loss to Carlsbad on Wednesday, it was disclosed that the team\’s leading scorer will miss up to six weeks with what Gonzalez called a broken wrist.

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It was bad enough Thursday that Davis was again without a full-speed Graham McDaniel — the Most Valuable Player in the school\’s Curry Invitational Tournament title run. But guard McDaniel, suffering from flu-like symptoms, should be as good as new by Wednesday\’s game on the road against Lodi.

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“It\’s been pretty rough,” Gonzalez admitted. “But the kids have been playing their hearts out. Remember, we lost three games by a total of six points — two of those were in overtime.

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“With the talent we\’ve been seeing, I like the way we\’re playing. The four losses are not indicative of the way we\’ve been playing. We could easily be 2-2 or 3-1.”

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Two weeks ago, DHS was cruising along with a 7-1 record, a tournament title in its pocket and the world to conquer. After a 45-39 loss to Will C. Wood on Dec. 22 and the San Diego trip, the Devils fly home today with a five-game losing streak.

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“We\’ll be OK. Our defense has been very good,” Gonzalez said. “We just need to get our shooting percentage into the 40s.”

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Through 13 games, the Devils hitting one of every three shots on average.

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So, now what?

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Knowing how tough the Mohr hole will be to fill, the coach thinks his roster\’s depth could get it through the tough patch.

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Bryce Thompson seized the moment with 23 points, three rebounds and a block against the Cougars, now 4-9. It was the senior forward\’s 3-point basket at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime.

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“He was huge again for us. He did a heckuva job,” Gonzalez praised.

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With McDaniel playing only six minutes, versatile junior Tyler Sousa was at point guard — and, according to Gonzalez, handled it “very well.” Sousa had seven points and three rebounds.

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Ilanko Nataajaran played a key role for Davis — scoring four points and limiting his men defensively. When McDaniel recovers, Sousa goes back to swingman and Elvis Bikoba will join Nataajaran in extended playing time, Gonzalez said. Bikoba also had four points against Spanish Springs (Sparks, Nev.).

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But without Mohr and McDaniel, two categories suffered terribly for the Blue Devils.

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When Mohr soared, DHS held its own on the boards against centers who were 6-foot-10, 7-0 and 6-8. The senior acrobat had 31 rebounds in the first three ESPN/iScore games. On Thursday, Spanish Springs held the carom advantage, 27-21.

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Then there were assists. McDaniel is one of the region\’s top playmakers. With him out, the Blue Devils had zero assists.

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Gonzalez, however, says his team has the spirit and talent to rally. After all, the trip south was designed to toughen up the squad and allow his team to bond further. (A beach trip was planned Thursday.)

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Now, the plane flight home gives the young men a chance to soul-search as they inch closer to Delta Valley Conference play in two weeks.

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— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8047. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com

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