DHS boys make a strong statement

By From page B1 | December 20, 2013


DHS senior Brandon Strong hits a 3-pointer in front of his cheering section — including football standout Brendan MacDonald holding a picture of Strong's head — on Thursday at the DHS gym. The Blue Devils beat Swett, 98-44, in the first round of the Les Curry Invitational. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

In opening the Les Curry Invitational on Thursday night at the Davis High gym, the Blue Devil boys made 20 shots from beyond the 3-point arc and finished with 98 points.

When you do that, everything else just seems to fall into place.

That everything else — strong offensive rebounding and a full-court press that created tons of steals — helped DHS demolish John Swett, 98-44.

The Devils (8-1) had 29 offensive boards (47 total) and 20 steals, while nailing 38.5 percent of their 3-point shots (20-of-52).

With 98 points, Davis’ scoring output was the highest of the season so far and the most since setting a school record with 134 points in a win over Valley Christian last Jan. 19.

Picking up where he left off after a big fourth quarter in a comeback win over Napa on Tuesday, senior Matt Michael had 10 first-period points Thursday and finished with a game-high 22. He drained six field goals, all from long range.

“It was great. That’s the best feeling in the world hitting threes and running out with your teammates,” Michael said. “We’ve been running the offense a little bit better and looking for the extra pass. We’ve been working the ball around … and that’s really been opening things up for me and the team in general.”

Swett (6-5) hung with the locals for the first couple of minutes, tying the game at 8-8 on Matthew Thompkins’ 3-point play with 5:34 left in the opening quarter. But that’s when the Blue Devils kicked into high gear, outscoring the Indians 18-3 over the next 2:35, to turn a tie ball game into a 26-11 blowout.

It only got worse from there as senior Brandon Strong hit a trey at the first-period buzzer — off a steal by Brett Bloomfield — to start another spurt, this one 16-2, and DHS was cruising. The Devils outscored Swett 33-8 in the second quarter to take a 63-23 halftime lead.

“Everything always starts out slow so we get anxious early, but if we can hit as many threes as we did (Thursday) … that’s a huge boost,” said Blue Devil coach Dan Gonzalez. “That’s a lot of extra points with every bucket.”

Strong made four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points, while senior Bloomfield led the way with five steals. Classmate Ben Crook made three long balls on his way to 11 points and paced Davis with six assists, and sophomore Glen Welch matched that 3-point performance and grabbed seven rebounds, five on the offensive end.

Michael tied Welch for the team lead with seven boards (four of his coming on offense) and chipped in four steals for the Devils, who will face Natomas on Friday at 8:30 p.m.

“Matt Michael is still playing really well, his shot is still going down,” Gonzalez said. “Quite a few guys played well (Thursday), but we know (Friday’s) going to be back to the grind. That’s a team (Natomas) that we’ve beaten before (80-73 on Dec. 10), but they are going to be out to get us.”

The Nighthawks defeated Chico earlier Thursday, 74-67. If DHS can top Natomas again Friday, it will reach the championship game of a tournament for the third consecutive weekend. Waiting in that Saturday title contest will be either Woodcreek (which whipped Wood, 70-38, Thursday) or Rodriguez (a 59-49 winner over Colfax).

Michael knows that making tournament championship contests isn’t easy — nor is winning tourneys as the locals did last weekend in Vacaville — but said the Devils won’t lose because their up-and-down style tires them out:

“We condition so hard in the offseason, we got in great shape just for this reason so we can play three games in a row and run every day,” Michael explained. “But we have to regroup and refocus, we’ll play a better team (Friday).”

— Reach Chris Saur at [email protected] or 530-747-8049.

Chris Saur

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