For a quarter, the Davis High girls basketball team looked like it was imitating the style of their male counterparts, who run The System. On Friday, the Lady Blue Devils played at that breakneck pace, drained threes, and implemented a stifling trap defense in the early part of their Delta Valley Conference opener against Elk Grove.
That style of play allowed DHS to entrench the visiting Thundering Herd into an early deficit that the locals would not relinquish in a 69-58 win at The Cage.
From the opening tip, it was clear that the Devils (11-6, 1-0) came in ready to leave their two-game losing streak behind them. Their stifling half-court trap looked unbreakable as they held EGHS (10-8, 0-1) to 12 points in the first period and forced 20 turnovers.
“That (trap) is one of the four defenses that we play,” said Davis head coach Karen Foster. “That’s our favorite. They like it, and when they like it they play it even better. A lot of teams have trouble with our half-court trap defense.”
To go along with the trap, there also seemed to be an impromptu block party in The Cage, as the Blue Devils recorded nine stuffs on the night, just one short of their season high. Sophie Seng, Caitlin Mazzoleni and Rachel Allison swatted away three shots apiece.
“In a lot of our drills, they have to have their arms above their waist,” Foster said. “Their arms have to be out on defense or else we run. They have their arms out now, and it changes everything, it makes it easy for them to get a lot of deflections.”
That suffocating defense combined with a red-hot DHS offense out of the gate. The Devils hit five 3-pointers in the opening period, which helped them jump out to a 25-12 lead heading into the second quarter.
Davis led by as many as 21 points throughout the game, largely due to double-digit scoring efforts from each member of its Big Four: Katie Grahn (22 points), Mazzoleni (13 points), Allison (15 points) and Emma Stenz (12 points).
“When we scout, each team in our league has one or two people, who can really score,” Foster said. “We take those one or two players away, and force everyone else to score. You take away my two leading scorers, I’ll bring seven more at you. I have a wealth of people, so they can take away whoever they want and we can still score.”
One thing the Lady Blue Devils can still work on is cashing in on their second-chance opportunities. DHS outrebounded the Herd, 41-28 — which was largely due to a 20-rebound performance from Stenz — but missed out on several opportunities to get easy buckets after offensive rebounds.
“We normally board well,” Foster said. “Everyone has to crash, a lot of times we get stuck watching before we go and crash the boards.”
The Devils now prepare for their second DVC contest, a Tuesday matchup against Franklin. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at The Cage.
— Reach Thomas Oide at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas