By Shane Bennett
It was a frustrating night at Purcell on Monday as both Davis basketball teams fell to the Dragons in District play. The Davis girls led most of the game, but lost a heartbreaker, 33-32. Then the boys suffered their third lop-sided defeat to the Dragons this season, 58-30.
Purcell 33, Davis 32
Logan Pruitt of Davis and Emily Madden of Purcell traded punches all night long with each girl doing most of the scoring for her team. In the end though, tough defense and turnovers would be the story in a low-scoring affair.
Purcell grabbed an early lead with a three-pointer just 45 seconds into the game. Then, however, Davis outplayed its hosts soundly for the better part of three quarters. Davis rattled off nine straight points, attacking the basket and smothering the Lady Demons with their full-court press defense.
Purcell tried to stymie Davis with a press of its own by the Lady Wolves were criss-crossing the court with quick passes, running their press-breaker to perfection to generate good looks at the basket in the first quarter.
By the end of the first eight minutes, Davis led 13-8. In the second, two problems cropped up for Davis that would plague them the rest of the game. On offense, it was travelling and on defense, it was an inability to consistently rebound.
Davis won most of the action but lost ground on the scoreboard over the next two quarters. Plus, there was Madden. She fired a quick, deep three-pointer to tie the game at 13 early in the second and then made a pull-up jumper with just three seconds left in the first half to cut the lead to 20-18 by halftime.
Still, Davis had control of the game. Pruitt drove to the basket three times early in the fourth to net her team’s first five points of the second half and build a 25-21 lead.
A few minutes later though, Madden answered with back-to-back deep threes that gave her team its first lead since 3-0. With 1.55 to play in the third, Purcell led 29-27.
Unfortunately for Madden, though, she suffered a significant ankle injury 30 seconds later that ended her night. When she hopped off the court, she had tallied 19 of her team’s 29 points in the contest.
The lead went up to 31-27 with a basket just 15 seconds into the fourth. Then Morgan Scott proved clutch with a huge three-pointer (the only one of the game for Davis) to cut the lead to one with 6:52 to play.
With a slim lead in the fourth and its best scoring option out of the game, Purcell shifted to playing keep away with a half-court offense designed more to drain the clock than score points.
It worked too. With a tall rebounder inside to get back their occasional missed shots, the Lady Dragons managed to keep the ball on their side of half-court for over four straight minutes of the fourth quarter.
Davis got the ball twice during that stretch. Once the Lady Wolves traveled and the other time a trap forced a jump ball with the possession arrow favoring the home team.
Finally in the last minute of the game Davis was able to send Purcell to the free throw line and finally get the ball back. The Lady Dragons made the front end of a one-and-one, but missed the second.
Davis got the rebound and got the ball to Pruitt, who droved to the basket and got a shot to roll around and down to cut Purcells’ lead to just 33-32 with 12 ticks remaining on the clock.
Another foul forced another one-and-one free-throw situation with nine seconds left and this time the Lady Dragons missed.
Davis got the rebound and called a timeout to set up a final play with just six seconds remaining. With a foul to give though, Purcell was able to foul the Lady Wolves and make them inbound again with four seconds and ultimately, Davis never got a shot up to try to win it.
After leading most of the game, the Lady Wolves saw a five game winning streak snapped in the first game of post-season play.
Now, with a record of 14-8, the Lady Wolves will face the loser of Tuesday’s District game between Kingston and Marietta. It will be the first round of Regional play with the Lady Wolves needing to win three straight to advance to area. The game will be at Kingston at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Purcell 58, Davis 30
Monday’s district defeat was the third double-digit loss of the season for Davis against Purcell. The Dragons have simply outmatched the Wolves in each contest and Monday was no different.
Purcell out-paced Davis 15-2 to start the game and led 21-6 by the end of the first quarter. That lead was up to 42-10 by halftime.
The second half, was a different story though. Davis stepped up its defensive effort, holding the Dragons to only two points in the third quarter. On the other of the floor, it was all about getting the ball inside to Ty Birkes. Birkes was held scoreless in the first half, but after intermission he racked up 13 points to lead the Wolves.
The lead was still too big to overcome and the Wolves were sent to the single-elimination side of the Regional bracket.
The game was the final contest of the season for guard Raydyn Amos, who played through pain with season-ending knee surgery scheduled for Tuesday. For the rest of the playoffs the team will be without him and starter Tuff Hammons, who also is out with an injury and didn’t play on Monday.
Davis is now 2-19 on the season and will be on the road to face the loser of Tuesday night’s District game between Marietta and Kingston. Davis will face them at Kingston on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the first round of Regional play.
Girls Game Summary
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 13 7 7 5 – 32
Purcell 8 10 11 4 – 33
Davis – Logan Pruitt 20, Jacie LaNoy 5, Morgan Scott 5 and Chloe Summers 2.
Boys Game Summary
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 6 4 8 12 – 30
Purcell 21 21 2 14 – 58
D – Ty Birkes 13, Levi Baxter 4, Jacob Gain 4, Raydyn Amos 3, Cody Caraway 3 and Sevy Adams 3.
By Shane Bennett