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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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End of year is rough for Davis basketball

By
January 1, 2011 |

Enterprise columnist

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Had somebody told me — after all the promise that has shined through in Davis basketball this winter — that the final week of the year would be such a mess, I\’d have laughed in their face.

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But as we turn the calendar, let\’s hope for auld lang syne as it relates to 2010.

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Where to start?

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Friday … I guess. Figuring my family and I were going to bring the new year by watching a resounding Big West Conference-opening victory over Cal State Fullerton, we went to The Pavilion to watch our UC Davis women play.

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Yikes! Coming in at 4-8 against the ascending Aggies, the Titans used scalding first-half shooting (hitting 7-of-9 shots at one point) and nipped our hometown heroines, 58-56. After battling back from a 10-point deficit to lead by four late, the 10-3 Aggies spit the bit down the stretch.

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Great. It was a horrible ending to a horrible week.

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I suppose, as bad as the Aggie loss was, it didn\’t compare to what both the boys and girls programs at Davis High experienced.

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Anticipation of a post-Christmas trip to San Diego had the Blue Devil guys all fired up. The locals were getting a chance to compete in a high-profile tournament — the ESPN/iScore Classic.

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Coming off their first-ever Les Curry Invitational championship, the Devils were 7-1 and reaching

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for uncharted territory under 11th-year head coach Dan Gonzalez.

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Then came a warning sign: on Dec. 21, Wood came to town to avenge its Curry title loss. The Wildcats, who had lost to DHS 45-39 three days earlier, returned the favor by the exact same score.

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A bump, Gonzalez hoped. Focus would return on the San Diego trip.

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Then playmaker Graham McDaniel took ill and missed all but six minutes of an iScore loss

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to Brea Olinda. Then came three consecutive losses to much taller teams. The three setbacks were by a total of six points.

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That was bad enough — a five-game losing streak — but late in a loss to Carlsbard, leading scorer/rebounder Tim Mohr hit the floor with a thud. So did Devil Nation\’s heart. Mohr, at last check, will miss “about six weeks” with a fractured wrist, according to team officials.

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Davis is a deep team. It\’s well-coached and has plenty of energy. Don\’t be surprised if it, well, rebounds. But who knew?

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Ending the year with a five-game losing streak and losing its top chess piece in the process …

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But the women\’s loss and the boys\’ traumatic traveling pale in comparison to the reshuffle in the Lady Blue Devils program.

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Already winners of nine games — they had won only eight during all of last season — the young women were soaring. But internally, there was a developing situation.

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Then it boiled over. Senior twins Khaliya and Malika Wilkins, the clear floor leaders, were removed from the DHS roster by head coach Jeff Christian. The reason, according to Christian, was

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“conduct detrimental to the team.”

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Playing with the Wilkinses on Monday, the Blue Devils opened the Dixon Ram Jam with an

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impressive win over a very good Benicia squad. Next, in an 11th-hour meltdown against another good school — Inderkum — words were exchanged. A team meeting the next day went poorly.

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By the time Davis took the floor on Thursday (a loss to Wood), the Wilkinses were off the team and the Devils ended 2010 with a two-game losing streak.

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It\’s just a head-shaking turn of events for all three basketball programs. Let\’s hope everything happens for a reason and the rocky endings to 2010 evolve to revelations and hope for a safe and sane 2011.

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— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer at The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at bgallaudet@davis

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enterprise.net or (530) 747-8047. Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

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