Lady Devils excited for Tuesday playoff opener

By From page B1 | February 20, 2014

For a moment, there were mixed emotions for the Lady Blue Devils as they found out they will open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls basketball tournament with a road contest Tuesday at Enochs.

Tenth-seeded Davis High (17-9, 7-3 Delta Valley Conference) avoided a Friday play-in game but it doesn’t get to play at home, instead traveling all the way to Modesto for the 7 p.m. outing.

But those mixed emotions quickly turned into one: excitement.

“The girls are excited and ready to go,” third-year Devil coach Karen Foster said as her team gathered at point guard Anna Belenis’ house for a pasta feed. “I don’t know much about (Enochs). I feel like we match up well against anybody.”

The seventh-seeded Eagles finished the season 25-2 and blew through the so-so Modesto Metro Conference with a 12-0 record to take the title.

Though its competition wasn’t the strongest, EHS excelled with a super-stingy defense that allowed just 36 points per game and gave up no more than 48 points in any of its 25 victories.

With that kind of defense, the Eagles don’t need to put up many points. Top scorers Akaysha Simpkins (a 6-foot junior post) and Katie Dillon (a 5-6 sophomore guard) each put in just over 10 points a night with Simpkins adding nine rebounds per game.

But Foster likes the way her roster looks in comparison to that Enoch group.

DHS post Emma Stenz was a double-double machine in the regular season — including consecutive games earlier this month in which she averaged 28.5 points and 21.5 boards. The junior finished as the DVC leader in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounds (11.7), grabbing an impressive 5.2 offensive boards each outing. Belenis, a sophomore, also paced the conference with her 5.2 assists per game.

“They have a 6-foot post but we have a great 6-foot post,” Foster said. “They have a decent point guard, but I would put our point guard up against anybody.”

Belenis’ dishes often find junior Katie Grahn, who averages 9.9 points a night and had 20 or more points four times this season.

Notes: DVC champ Monterey Trail (18-9, 10-0) — the winner of two very close games against the Devils — is seeded ninth and will play at No. 8 River City on Tuesday. … Elk Grove, which finished in a second-place tie with Davis, is No. 9 in the D-II bracket.

Enterprise staff

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