A quick glance at the statistics from the Davis High girls basketball game against rival Monterey Trail on Friday would indicate that the Blue Devils won in a rout.
DHS reined in the Mustangs, holding them to 17-of-79 shooting, and clamping down on MTHS star Jasmine Redmon, who finished just 2-for-21 from the floor.
However, despite getting 24 points from junior Katie Grahn, playing spectacular defense for nearly the entire game and taking the first-place Mustangs to overtime, the Devils left the Valentine’s Day affair with a bitter taste in their mouths, losing 59-57.
“My defense was spot-on,” head coach Karen Foster said after her team fell to 16-9 overall and 6-3 in the Delta Valley Conference and saw Monterey Trail go to 17-9 and 9-0 in league play.
“We changed our defense a little bit to give them fits and it worked,” Foster added. “I don’t even have any words right now. … I’m proud of how we played. We left it all out there and that’s all I ask of them.”
To say the atmosphere in The Cage was raucous might even be an understatement as the Senior Night contest was played in front of Davis’ biggest crowd of the year.
“It was exciting; the girls loved it,” Foster said. “Sometimes it was hard for me to get a call in for what play we’re running, but all in all, it was amazing to see all of these kids cheering for my girls.”
Though the Mustangs were the most physical team the Lady Blue Devils had seen all year, the locals matched their physicality, which led to a chippy, foul-filled contest.
“We know we’re going to meet a lot of physicality as we move on,” said DHS junior center Emma Stenz. “We’ve gotta adjust to it. We’re going to have to deal with bad (officiating), and we have to deal with some calls being against us, and we have to deal with our shots not dropping. We just have to be able to fight.”
And fight is exactly what the Devils did on Friday, building a 28-20 advantage by intermission. But, when the second half began, that lead began to slip away as the Mustangs employed a full-court press, a defense that has given Davis some problems this season.
At one point in the third quarter, Foster screamed at the referee for a timeout with MTHS trapping Blue Devil Rachael Allison in the backcourt. However, the timeout wasn’t given to her for nearly 10 seconds, forcing Foster to step on the court and clap her hands at a referee. For the exchange, Foster was called for technical foul.
“I clapped my hands at him because I call for a timeout, when they’re battling in there, and he agreed with the call, but I stepped and clapped at him and he called the technical,” Foster explained. “Really a joke.”
The last four minutes of regulation — which featured five lead changes — truly turned into a heavyweight bout, with neither team backing down.
With just under a minute to go, Grahn canned a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to give DHS a 2-point lead. But Monterey Trail came right back down the court and, with the shot clock expiring, Tiara Webb slithered her way between Sophie Seng and Stenz to tie the game up at 52-52.
And that’s how the scoreboard looked when the final whistle blew on the fourth quarter.
In the overtime period, Monterey Trail’s one-two punch of Redmon and Webb proved to be just a little too much for the Lady Blue Devils, while the Mustangs double-teamed Stenz and prevented her from getting the ball in the post.
“It was a hard situation, because there were a lot of girls putting pressure on me, and the entry passes weren’t exactly where they needed to be,” Stenz said. “But you know, we were all exhausted.”
With the loss, Davis fell to third place in the DVC — behind MTHS and Elk Grove — but, with just one game left in the regular season, the locals are guaranteed a playoff spot.
“It’s just one more thing to push us to improve, to get better and get that one more game in the playoffs,” Stenz said of the loss. “We’re gonna meet teams just like Monterey Trail and even better (in the postseason). This loss is just going to be a fire while we work in our practices.”
Notes: DHS’ Ariane Rusanganwa, the team’s lone senior, was honored before the game. … No wonder Stenz was exhausted. She pulled double duty, singing a beautiful rendition of the national anthem prior to the contest. … Sophomore Sophie Seng had 7 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils.