It wasn’t art, but Davis High handled visiting Franklin, 53-42, in a Delta Valley Conference girls basketball crucial on Tuesday at The Cage.
The relentless Lady Blue Devils used their devastating half-court pressure to keep the Wildcats (12-7, 1-1) at arm’s length. DHS improved to 12-6 overall and 2-0 in league.
But a frustrating shooting night kept this one from being a blowout.
The Devils hit less than one of three shots (31 percent), including a miserable 28 percent in the paint.
“We had a lid on the hoop for a little bit,” Davis coach Karen Foster said after watching a 19-point second-half lead evaporate to 49-42 with 1:36 remaining.
“We were racking up some offensive boards, but we just couldn’t finish. We shoot those (inside) shots every practice … 150 of them, 200. I don’t know. Unlucky?”
With the suffocating defense employed night-in, night-out by the locals, these Blue Devils can afford occasional poor offensive showings. Plus, outrebounding a foe 42-27 and forcing 23 turnovers doesn’t hurt.
“It might have been a 40-point difference if we could have finished,” Foster said, adding: “I’m not worried about it.”
With Katie Grahn’s 14 points showing the way, DHS quickly let its guests know it meant business when Grahn’s first-period steal swiftly went to Anna Belenis, whose nifty bounce pass resulted in an Emma Stenz lay-up.
Later in the quarter, with the ‘Cats trailing only 8-7, Belenis found Grahn running the baseline.
The junior’s shot went in and Franklin center Erin Cocker sent her to the foul line.
When Grahn converted the free throw, the Lady Devils were off and running.
A 29-18 halftime lead was extended to that 19-point bulge before FHS’ Elizabeth Evangelista and Kimi Tanaka sparked a 16-10 fourth-quarter run as Foster freely substituted, trying different combinations down the stretch.
Evangelista finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Tanaka had nine points — all in the final 7:03.
Foster praised a trio of her players:
* About sophomore point guard Belenis (five assists and a terrific job against the Franklin press): “She’s pivotal. Nice passes (Tuesday).”
* On Grahn: “Shot the ball well and was finishing.” Grahn had a 22-point performance in Friday’s win over Elk Grove.
* And there was Sophie Seng off the bench: “Again, she played well.”
In addition to her 14 points, Grahn had five rebounds, four steals and four assists.
Caitlin Mazzoleni had nine points, nine rebounds and four assists as Davis’ balanced offense showed itself once again.
Center Stenz scored eight, had a block and four rebounds. Seng added nine points, four boards and two steals, while Rachael Allison scored six and Sarah Bloise had five points and five rebounds.
Next up for the Lady Blue Devils is a trip to Laguna Creek on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals are limping along at 3-10 and 0-2 in DVC.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.