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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Lady Blue Devils falter down the stretch

By
December 28, 2010 |

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DIXON — It all happened so fast.

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Up one with 15 seconds to go in the second round of the Ram Jam Invitational, the Davis High girls basketball team lost Khaliya Wilkins (to fouls), lost the ball — while trying to bring the ball downcourt to shoot a game-winner — then lost its head in a last-ditch attempt to tie.

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When it was all said and done, it had also lost the game.

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The Lady Blue Devils\’ Tuesday opponent, Inderkum, made fourth free throws in those final seconds and escaped the Dixon High gym with a 48-45 victory.

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DHS (9-4) was ahead 45-44 when Wilkins picked up her fifth foul at the 0:15 mark. After two Tiger free throws were successful, the Devils turned the ball over as they tried to get downcourt to erase the 46-45 deficit.

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Two more free throws then put Inderkum (11-2) ahead by three and the shell-shocked Blue Devils missed a two-point shot as time expired.

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It was the last and most costly example of a sloppy overall performance by Davis, that left head coach Jeff Christian unhappy after the game. He could not be reached for comment.

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Not at its best early, DHS also had to deal with the Tigers\’ six-foot monster, Riana Bird. Midway through the first period, the Devils were trailing 8-3, thanks mostly to the stellar play of Bird.

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However, the locals soon found their groove, rattling off an 11-3 run to end the quarter. The spurt was highlighted by Khaliya Wilkins intercepting a cross-court pass and returning it for an easy layup, and her twin sister Malika draining Davis\’ only 3-pointer of the game.

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At the beginning of the second quarter, it was the Devil defense that took control, preventing the Tigers from connecting on a field goal until 3:30 was left before halftime. DHS\’ persistence and confidence in the lane forced Bird to the bench with foul trouble, and the Blue Devils took a 26-23 lead into intermission when Khaliya Wilkins\’ hit a buzzer-beating jumper.

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Unfortunately, the third quarter saw more of the sloppiness that had Christian seeming disappointed with his team\’s shoddy and inconsistent play. Through it all, another DHS buzzer-beater — this one by Ashleigh Vandenbrink — at the end of the third period, had the game tied at 35-35 heading into the fourth.

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“We were strong at times, but for most of the game we didn\’t play as a team,” Vandenbrink said.

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Davis opened up a six-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter thanks to steals by Ali Campos and Sarah Sadler. But the lead dwindled when Bird came back into the game and clogged up the lane once more. The Devils clung to the one-point lead until letting it get away in the final seconds.

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Malika Wilkins had 13 points to lead the way for DHS, while Khaliya Wilkins added 12 and Campos had 10. Malika Wilkins also paced the Blue Devils on the boards, grabbing five, while Vandenbrink and Capriana Christian each corralled four of their own.

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Despite the sloppy play on offense, Davis kept the game close by being opportunistic on the defensive end. Sadler had five steals and Vandenbrink and Campos each seized four for the Devils, who finished with 20 takeaways.

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The frustrating loss should give DHS ample motivation today, when they wrap up the tournament with a 12:30 p.m. matchup against the winner of Tuesday\’s game between Will C. Wood and Dixon.

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Notes: Davis beat Benicia, 56-40 in the Ram Jam opener on Monday, while Inderkum defeated Vacaville. … Bird finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. … The Tigers outscored the Blue Devils 13-10 in the final period.

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