ELK GROVE — Tuesday’s Delta Valley Conference contest at Franklin had all the indicators of a trap game for the Lady Blue Devils.
The Wildcats had a height advantage, they were playing their best basketball of the season coming into the game and Davis High still could have been thinking about last Friday’s lost to Monterey Trail in a battle for the DVC leadership.
Add the fact that the locals were reeling from the flu and freshman starter Rachael Allison’s sprained ankle remained achy.
But when Ashleigh Vandenbrink’s two free throws gave her Devils an 11-point, first-quarter lead, fearful DHS fans could breathe a sigh of relief. This road game turned into a 57-33 breeze.
“We played very well (early) … I have a lot of sick girls and I chose to rest the starters,” said Davis coach Karen Foster, herself feeling under the weather. “We kinda of struggled through a little bit (at the end). But it gives people a chance to see what they have to do, step up a little bit (when called on).”
Actually, the only trapping on this night was supplied by the mauling Blue Devil defense, which, after being solved somewhat in Friday’s 71-61 loss to the Mustangs, was airtight on Tuesday.
After its fast start, DHS settled in and led 32-21 at intermission. Then, flu-victim Vandenbrink and sophomore center Emma Stenz sent Franklin reeling in the third period.
Vandenbrink canned nine of her 19 points in that quarter, adding two steals, two assists and three rebounds in just five minutes of play after the break. Stenz had two boards and six points in the period, and the Devils danced off to a 51-24 lead going into the final stanza.
“Our trap worked well,” Foster understated, discovering after the game that her girls forced 21 turnovers before calling the dogs off with more than 11 minutes remaining.
Davis’ largest lead came seconds into the fourth quarter at 55-27 as late baskets by Jamie Kingsley, Maya Tarasenko and Katie Grahn helped the locals get through an uneven final eight minutes.
Through the initial three periods, the Blue Devils held their hosts to an 8-for-36 nightmare from the floor. On the night, the Wildcats (10-11, 2-3) shot 24 percent while DHS was 24-for-54.
In additional to Vandenbrink’s 19, Stenz added 12, Grahn had eight points and six rebounds and Danielle Gantar was strong off the bench with six rebounds and a bucket.
Tori Powell was 4-of-5 from the floor (eight points) before wheezing off to the bench just after halftime. Bug-bitten Allison was on the floor less than 10 minutes, but managed three boards, two dishes and a bucket.
Now 17-4 and 4-1 in DVC, Davis heads to Elk Grove (8-13, 1-4) on Friday. The Lady Blue Devils rearranged the Thundering Herd, 69-28, on Jan. 8.
Notes: DHS outboarded Franklin, 45-19. Also, 12 of its 24 baskets came off assists. … Reserve junior Elizabeth Evangelista led the ‘Cats with seven points. Gina Ingravallo’s two bombs were good for six points. Sabrina Wu and Dominque Vernon both scored four as FHS’ leading scorer Lindsey Bedford was badgered into an 0-for-9 shooting game — scoring zero. … Vernon did close the first-half gap to 19-12 when she swiped back-to-back Devil in-bounds passes, scoring with her bounties both times. Immediately after, a Davis timeout settled down the hometown girls as baskets by Anna Belenis, Powell and Stenz restored order. Caitlin Mazzoleni was battling a 102-degree fever and did not suit up for the Lady Blue Devils.