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High-scoring DHS match was a yo-yo of momentum

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Blue Devil guard Brandon Strong looks to drive around a Woodcreek player in Saturday's third-place game. DHS fell 107-94. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

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From page B1 | December 22, 2013 |

Rarely does the Davis High gym scoreboard read 107-94 at the end of a game. And even more rarely, the Blue Devil boys were on the losing end of that score Saturday afternoon, falling to Woodcreek in the consolation final of their own Les Curry Invitational Tournament.

DHS dropped into the third-place game against Woodcreek (10-2) after an 86-76 loss Friday to Natomas. The Devils opened the tournament Thursday by dominating John Swett, 98-44.

In the Swett game, DHS topped its 2013 scoring record thus far. And even though the Devils came close to matching that number in Saturday’s game, the Timberwolves managed to exceed it.

However, based on a first quarter that ended with the Blue Devils leading 30-18, spectators could not have guessed that a tight see-saw battle was about to begin. DHS was hitting more than 60 percent of its shots from the field in the opening quarter.

The Blue Devils leaned on sophomore Ryan Kreidler for a steady supply of field goals in the opening quarter, and he obliged with a trio of buckets.

The DHS sharpshooting was particularly compelling in the second quarter, which included a pair of treys courtesy of another sophomore, Glen Welch. Additional 3-pointers came from Ben Prussel, Austin Lampley and Logan Davis, each of whom made one.

The Timberwolves responded with physical defense, and were whistled for 12 fouls before halftime. The Devils hit 15 of 19 free throws.

Halftime saw DHS with a 55-47 advantage, which would not be enough breathing room for a vitalized Woodcreek offense. The Timberwolves went on a 10-0 run to start the second half, and also caught fire from the floor — hitting better than 80 percent of their shots for the remainder of the game.

And so the Blue Devils trailed by a substantial margin in the third period, until DHS senior Brandon Strong put away three baskets and a trey in the last three minutes. Despite that, the Devils still needed some help when the quarter ended with them slightly behind, 78-76.

But the final period was a reversal of the opener, DHS scored 18 points — the same as Woodcreek in the first quarter — while the Timberwolves tallied 29, nearly mirroring the Devils’ opening 30-point quarter.

The DHS offense suffered from the curse of inaccuracy beyond the arc, and Woodcreek’s height advantage allowed it to dominate the boards. Four consecutive failed 3-point attempts from the Blue Devils led to four successful layups for the Timberwolves.

“We were definitely getting out-rebounded,” DHS head coach Dan Gonzalez said. “We know we’re going to go into games undersized, so then positioning becomes a big part of it. We need to put ourselves in the right place.”

The 86-76 deficit situation DHS faced was improved somewhat when Prussel, Matt Michael, Strong and then Kreidler hit their marks from beyond the arc. However, Woodcreek never paused on the offensive front, and the Devils continued to trail, 97-88.

The Timberwolves relied partly on the expert free-throw shooting of James Faupusa, who sank six points from the line in the final period. Also noteworthy was the trio of layups by Noah Blackwell, Woodcreek’s second-highest scorer of the night with 17.

But it was the 27 points racked up by Nick Howe, and his 10-point final quarter, that doused any hope of a DHS comeback.

“They’re an awfully talented team,” Gonzalez said of the Timberwolves. “It was a good measurement for us as far as where we are right now. We were able to play with them for a good portion of the game. With some adjustments and more work, we can be there.”

The Blue Devils have plenty of time to examine the film and get some holiday respite before they play again on Jan. 2 at the Trojan Toss Up at Oak Ridge. There, DHS will face El Dorado (5-5) in the opening game.

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett.

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