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Holidays meant tweaking offense, defense for 8-4 Lady Devils

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From page B1 | December 29, 2013 |

1229dhsgirlsW

DHS junior Caitlin Mazzoleni, who is averaging eight points per game to tie for second on the team, drives down the court in a recent Lady Blue Devil contest. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

It is the Davis High girls basketball team’s firm desire not be unseated from the Delta Valley Conference throne in the 2013-14 season.

In the preseason portion of the quest to defend its DVC title, the relatively young squad has risen to an 8-4 record. But have the Lady Blue Devils been satisfied with their performance thus far?

“Somewhat,” DHS coach Karen Foster told The Enterprise. “I have some players on my team that take basketball very seriously. When they make mistakes, their focus is completely on taking the time to correct it.”

Thankfully, the Lady Devils have ample time to rectify any lingering problems. Ten days will separate Davis’ third-place finish in the Napa Wine Valley Classic on Dec. 21 and an encounter with Yuba City’s Honkers on New Year’s Eve.

The locals have won five of their past six games, including two of three at the Napa tourney where they dominated Vallejo (3-9) and Liberty (7-6), but lost to Nevada Union (8-3) in between.

Even in their loss to the Lady Miners, the Blue Devils scored 49 points — a total that DHS has managed to keep its opponents beneath in more than half of its games this season.

That’s because it’s hard to keep Emma Stenz down — the Devils’ leading scorer tallies 13.5 points per game. The junior has been supported by classmates Katie Grahn and Caitlin Mazzoleni, each of whom score eight points an outing.

During this holiday break, all of the Davis players have been putting in long practice hours with the intent of honing their shooting.

“We’re practicing getting shots off with defenders in our face,” Foster explained. “We’ve put a lot of work into getting our offensive stuff down during this preseason period.”

Another thing that Foster hopes this respite allows for is the fine-tuning of the Davis defense. Specifically, the coach wants her Lady Blue Devils to get more active in producing turnovers.

When it comes to a standout with expertise on both ends of the court, Foster said there’s been an unforeseen player, a DHS lacrosse star, who has given the Devils a lift in the first 12 games:

“(Junior Sarah Bloise has) been a real surprise for me this year. She’s a power forward that’s made some great contributions both offensively and defensively.”

Since being added to the varsity hoops roster, Bloise has made 70 percent of her shots from the field.

And because Bloise has shined bright in the early portion of the season, she’s likely to see a lot of court time against Yuba City on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Actually, it’s likely that most of the Davis bench will as the Lady Devils head north with the knowledge that their opponents have yet to turn a victory in their first eight contests.

“Still, we’re going to need to use it as a prep to get ready for a couple of games coming up that will be very big, decisive games for us,” Foster said.

The trials that Foster speak of come against Inderkum (on the road Jan. 7), El Camino (at home Jan. 9) and Brookside Christian (away, Jan. 15).

That third matchup in particular, against the 8-3 Knights, is sure to present a hefty challenge for DHS. Brookside Christian’s squad has won by more than 30 points in all but four of its games.

The game against the Knights marks the end of nonleague play, with the Lady Blue Devils hosting Elk Grove at The Cage to open DVC competition Jan. 17.

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

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