If making the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the third time in coach Dan Gonzalez’s 15-year tenure — and coming up just short of reaching the second round for the first time under Coach G — wasn’t enough, the Davis High boys basketball team learned this week that three players have earned All-Delta Valley Conference recognition.
In a recent coaches’ vote, Blue Devil seniors Hayden Russell and Kevin Sorensen were named to the all-league squad and junior Brandon Strong picked up honorable mention.
Russell scored a team-high 19 points per game for DHS and was the engine that made The System — the Devils fast-paced offense that resulted in them breaking the school’s singe-game points record three different times — go.
Sorensen, an inside banger, added 15 points and eight rebounds a night for the locals, who went 6-4 to take third in the rugged DVC and earn an 11th seed in the section playoff.
Strong’s sharp-shooting was a huge weapon for Davis, which traveled to Stockton for the first round of the Division I tournament and took Lincoln to the brink before falling, 80-78.
Conference champion Grant — which upset top-seeded Sacramento in the semifinals of the DII tournament on Wednesday — boasts the DVC Coach of the Year in Deonard Wilson and Most Valuable Player Desean Parsons.
The Blue Devils suffered their first loss of the season on Thursday night at McClatchy, but not without putting up a fight.
The Lions needed extra points to win the first game, 30-28, and DHS won the third game 25-19 but dropped the second and fourth sets to fall in four.
Devil coach Julie Crawford said she was happy to see her team play “a more competitive match” which will help prepare the locals for upcoming challenges.
Though DHS won its first two contests this season, it is a young squad that relies heavily on senior standouts Sam Manderfield and Dan Bonetti. On Thursday, McClatchy recognized that and focused its attack accordingly.
Still, Crawford liked what she saw from her other players:
“They are learning the basic fundamentals and that is coming together nicely,” the coach said. “A lot of our errors (Thursday) were just little things that come along with inexperience and those can be fixed.”
Crawford also praised the aggressive hustle play of setter Don Wook Shin and the passing of backliner Richard Lu.