Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Grading the Blue Devil boys

By
January 3, 2011 |

Enterprise staff writer

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Instead of a report card, this midseason review of Davis High\’s boys basketball team\’s adventures should probably be a medical check-up.

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After five days spent in quicksand, the Blue Devils are safely back in Northern California, ready to regroup.

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The last week of 2010 saw the locals spinning their wheels at the ESPN/iScore Holiday Classic in San Diego. Losing all four games, DHS also saw its leading scorer — senior Tim Mohr — go down.

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At first, it was feared Mohr (averaging 13 points a game and leading the team in rebounding and blocks) would be out for up to six weeks with a fractured wrist. Thanks to a second opinion once home, Mohr confirmed Monday that it looks like he will be sidelined closer to three weeks. Apparently the break is a chip.

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Also, senior guard Graham McDaniel missed a lion\’s share of the tournament with flu-like

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symptoms. He\’s feeling better now.

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While head coach Dan Gonzalez says that\’s all good news, he went to practice Monday with one thing on his mind — finding a way for his Devils to score the ball.

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Shooting a hiccup over 30 percent on the year, Davis lost three games in San Diego by a combined six points. Along the way it shot 31 percent. A 34-percent effort would have given the Blue Devils three more wins and a record that would be far removed from its current 7-6. DHS has dropped five straight games.

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So, math instructor Gonzalez — a man who is very used to grading students — let\’s see how your Devils are doing at mid-term.

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Offense — D

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While Gonzalez would argue for a C-, it must be noted that in one game this season, the DHS was 1-for-12 in the paint. In that game the Blue Devils shot 18 percent overall and still only lost by six, (45-39 to Will C. Wood). In another contest — a 39-38 win over Nevada Union in the Les Curry Tournament on Dec. 17 — Davis shot 22 percent.

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“That C- … mainly due to shooting woes,” Gonzalez understated Monday before practice. “And we need to execute a little better.”

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When you have reached 60 points only once and four times have been at 20 percent shooting for a game, an over-.500 record speaks volumes about how the defense has been playing. Which leads to the next subject …

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Defense — A+

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Only two teams — Carlsbad last week in a 58-55 victory over Davis in the ESPN Classic and Amador Valley in a 62-46 Gold Dust Tournament championship-game win — have scored more than their season\’s average against the Blue Devils.

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All five starters — Mohr, Tyler DeLaughder, Tyler Sousa, Graham McDaniel and Bryce Thompson — can stop their men. DeLaughder, at 6-foot-4, was tested mightily last week against centers than went 7-1, 6-10 and 6-8, yet DHS remained close in two of those three losses. DeLaughder drew Gonzalez\’s praise in each.

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While the 11th-year coach is happy with what he\’s seen from his guys in stopping the opposition, he nonetheless goes a little lower on his assessment: “I\’d say A-. I want to keep \’em working at it. But it\’s been pretty darn good.”

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Basics — B

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With playmaker McDaniel impossible for foes to keep an eye on, Davis gets its opportunities. The Blue Devils are running their motion offense effectively — it\’s just those darn shots that don\’t fall. Rarely have the Devils been schooled. This DHS team is tough to guard and tough to score against. Most players have gone through several years of Hoops Wildcats AAU basketball before entering the school program.

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Fans can tell. The fundamentals are there. But making shots — that\’s fundamental, too; fundamental to winning. Without the 32 percent from the floor, this grade would be higher.

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Record — C-

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Another needs-to-improve subject.

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When the Blue Devils were cruising at 7-1, winners for the first time in their own tournament and bursting at the seams with confidence, it looked like a watershed year for the boys program.

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Like in school when nothing matters if you can\’t read, in basketball everything else is clouded over if you can\’t shoot.

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At 7-6, the players will be the first to tell you that their record could easily be 10-3 or 11-2. A basket here. Another there …

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Ugh. At this point, to talk further about shooting beats a dead horse. Gonzalez says shooting will come. He says the team has tries all kinds of drills — ranging from textbook to funky. Hard work aside, the law of averages now comes in to play. Eventually Davis will have a 50-percent night.

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Overall — B-

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At the brink, between an average and a good season, DHS — especially with Mohr out through at least the first four Delta Valley Conference games — needs to step it up on offense.

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With a game at Lodi on Wednesday and another in Dixon on Saturday, the Blue Devils will get a chance to work on its revamped lineup , which will features Ilanko Nataajaran at small forward and Sousa taking Mohr\’s place, for now.

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Team chemistry gets high marks and the coaching staff has done a good job working everyone into the lineup. That said, an otherwise C+ start inches up to a B- with the expectations that, as the shots drop, the Devils move forward with visions of playoffs again dancing in their horned heads.

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