By Sklyer Blume,
The Blue Devils’ free throw shooting late in the game was strong, holding off a fourth quarter Franklin run and securing Davis’ lead. The Devils emerged victorious with a final score of 75-68 and performed in front of a record-breaking crowd on Feb. 7.
For the first few moments of the Break the Record Night game, the opposing teams played in front of a silent crowd. That changed quickly as the Devils got an early lead and scored their tenth point, at which time the fans in the room got to their feet and made a deafening roar.
Davis used this momentum to excel defensively, its full-court press held the Wildcats to only 12 points in the first quarter. Offensively, the Davis outside shooting was on point. Its early string of three-pointers gave the team a quick 24 points and the lead.
This trend continued throughout the half, as the Devils maintained the 12-point lead and made nine shots from downtown in the first half alone. While seniors Brandon Strong and Matt Michaels led the team in scoring, a total of 11 players put up points in the game.
“Everyone has something to contribute. Everyone brings something special to the team and it takes each and every one of us to win,” Strong said.
After halftime, however, the game took a different pace. The Franklin defense got a handle on the Devils’ ball movement and managed to break the press that had been so effective in the first half.
The lead that the home team created in the first quarter never grew. As the third quarter ended, the lead had started to shrink. Even though it was only by two points, it became very evident that the game was tight.
In the last act of the game, Franklin managed to use its size to keep its offensive possessions alive, while outside shooters hit multiple threes, bringing the two teams within two points of each other in the final minute. The Wildcats outscored the Devils in the entire second half.
But, with the clock winding down, Franklin was forced to foul DHS. Despite hit or miss free throw shooting earlier in the game, once it mattered the team was lights out. Davis’s made free throws inflated the score and started to pull away again in the final seconds and led them to win a final score of 75-68.
The record home crowd and defensive adjustments are what Coach Dan Gonzalez credits the win to. After losing by 20 last month at Franklin, it was defense, not offense that Gonzalez saw as the key to victory.
“We changed our press because of the way they tried to break us, and that disrupted them and really opened up our offense,” Gonzalez said.
The win puts the Blue Devils in a three-way tie (with Franklin and Monterey Trail) for second place in the Delta Valley Conference, with three league games left in the season.