YOLO COUNTY NEWS

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Send some holiday cheer the Devils\’ way

By December 23, 2010

Enterprise columnist

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Walking downtown has been a delight these past couple of weeks.

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Everybody seems to be in the holiday spirit, folks are dressed up, everybody is smiling and saying

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“Hello” as they pass you. Way cool.

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It reminds of something that the late John Brinley mentioned to me:

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“I don\’t know why every day can\’t be like the holidays. Everyone smiling and nodding. It just makes everything better.”

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If I\’m off a little on what he told me exactly, I\’m sure he\’ll forgive me. But the point is, “Yeah. Why not? Every day.”

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Given that segue, here\’s a little challenge for one of our service clubs looking for an undertaking in the new year …

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How about Project Basketball at Davis High School?

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It\’s not secret that every sports program, everywhere on Earth, is scrambling to make ends meet.

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Now, as our boys and girls teams — freshman through varsity — are experiencing their highest participation numbers in decades (maybe ever), some housekeeping items are necessary.

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In a house in which there once were seven microphones floating around, the North Gym is down to one or two, and each is from another era. Mike Satre\’s colorful announcing almost went voiceless Tuesday until DHS Athletic Director Dennis Foster saved the day (apparently he has a special place to hide the remaining mikes).

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A less-scratchy speaker might help fans keep their sanity during warmups — and the referees would love to see a real possession arrow at the scorer\’s table. Pete Fuqua — scoreboard

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magician that he is — has a wooden block with a penned-in pointer. It looks more like a Kachina doll than a piece of official bookkeeping.

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If there\’s a service club that would like to help the Blue Devils shoot better than 32 percent a night, maybe they could explore with the school district brighter lighting in that North Gym — and in the newly refurbished parking lot. Both sets of illumination leave a lot to be desired, especially

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for such great facilities.

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Are you more interested in girls basketball? Where do I start?

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Coach Jeff Christian has done a heckuva job transforming the South Gym into The Cage. With custodial staff wizardry, Christian has tasteful advertising on the walls, has paid homage to the great DHS graduate Denise Curry and has brought a little showmanship to starting lineup introductions.

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Three things are missing. A decent sound system (no big deal), a scorer\’s table of any kind (a big deal when aged sports writers are trying to keep accurate books on their laps) and a freshly painted floor. Yellow is a color that\’s never good. This floor is also getting dangerous. Slippery is no good when cutting to the bucket.

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Oh, and another possession indicator wouldn\’t hurt. David Blackwell has been using a caution cone, for criminy sakes.

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So, in 2011, try smiling every day, enjoy the bounty that is high school basketball and urge your service club to contact either Christian or boys coach Dan Gonzalez to fix up otherwise terrific facilities.

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While I Have You Here: I have two words for you — Tori Powell.

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This frenetic sophomore Lady Blue Devil has brought a smile to my face for almost a decade.

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Powell\’s sister Taylor has been my daughter Julie\’s BFF for years. I met Tori went she was, oh, 1 year old.

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Goofy as a $3 bill, Tori Powell nonetheless is personable, smart and driven.

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I got to “coach” her in recreation-league basketball. Wait, I got to herd her in basketball. A free spirit, to be sure, so energetic is Ms. Powell, she wears out opponents who watch her in pre-game warmups.

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The thing that cracks me up about coach Christian\’s fledgling swingman is that she\’s an accomplished equestrian. She handles a 1,200-pound horse with authority. Then, sometimes on the court, that little round thing in her hands becomes The Great Mystery. But it\’s all what makes Tori, well, Tori.

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Thursday night, Powell provided fans with a microcosm of her game. Thoroughly entertaining, if not painful …

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Four points and a couple of rebounds don\’t seem like much. But her eight minutes on the court were worth every penny of the $6 admission.

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By my count, she was on the floor five times — once with 10 seconds left in the girls\’ 60-45 victory. She was hit hard from behind, traveled, then got clobbered in the head with an elbow at the whistle. Down went Powell. Out came the training staff and Christian. Everyone was concerned. I know Tori Powell. I had to keep from smiling. Powell was in her element. Tori loves to get injured — or at least look in distress.

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She eventually bounced up. Groggy. This was a real injury. Nice hustle, kid.

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If you haven\’t see these Blue Devils play, now is the time. Monday, they\’re in Dixon at 9:30 a.m. to play Benicia. At 8-3, DHS has already equaled its 2009-10 win total.

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And with the price of admission, you get the Wilkins sisters, rebounding whiz Ashleigh Vandenbrink and backcourt dandy Ali Campos.

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Not to mention you get to watch Tori. It\’s kind of like watching a baby condor try to fly for the first time — holding a basketball.

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— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer at The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or (530) 747-8047. Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

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