By Owen Yancher,
Playing in the consolation final of the 43rd annual Dorothy Speck tournament Saturday afternoon, the Davis High women’s basketball team finished fourth overall after a 48-28 loss to West Campus.
Despite the 20-point difference in the final score, the game was extremely close throughout the entire first half. Unlike their first two games of the tournament, the Devils played a slower-tempo game, resembling last season’s style of play.
Both teams came out the gate firing Saturday. West Campus got on the board immediately with a deep three pointer, but the Devils responded on the following possession with layup from junior Alyssa Lengtat, followed by a steal from senior Anna Belenis, which she dished cross-court to junior Cara Satre for an easy layup. After a Davis foul, West Campus made a pair of free throws and two wild acrobatic shots, putting them up on Davis 11-4.
Checking into the game, senior Rachael Allison wasn’t about to let things slip away. In the clutch, Allison grabbed rebounds on back-to-back possessions and set up Belenis for an assist on a three by senior Faith Harlan, which brought Davis back into rhythm.
But Allison wasn’t done. In the second quarter, she showcased her abilities on the opposite side of the court by hitting a mid-range jumper, then stole the ball on the ensuing possession, which led to a score by junior Maria Voss. After sophomore Kelsey Forrester hit a pair of free throws and Lengtat tallied another two, the Devils trailed just 17-16.
With a minute left in the half, Forrester drilled a three through the lacework and put Davis up by two. At the end of the half, the game was tied 19 apiece.
Then came trouble.
West Campus continued to rain down baskets on the Devil defense, which had no response on the offensive end.
After going down 27-19, Davis had a scare when Forrester took a hard fall onto the hardwood. She appeared to hurt her jaw and had to leave the game for few minutes. Weakened by the momentary loss of their leading scorer, Davis was held scoreless for the remainder of the third quarter and fell into a 33-19 hole.
In the final quarter, Belenis resurrected the Blue Devil offense with an artful trey, but even after scores from sophomore Grace Gulsvig, Satre and Allison, the Devils still trailed at the conclusion of the game by 20.
No player entered double digits in the scoring department Saturday’s game. Forrester led the team with six points, while Lengtat, Satre and Gulsvig added four each. Harlan and Allison scored three points apiece, and Belenis and Voss had baskets.
In both Friday night’s matchup versus Salesian and Saturday’s game against West Campus, the Devils struggled to rebound. Both opponents capitalized on their second chance shot opportunities and were able to leave Davis in the dust.
“We find ourselves watching a lot,” Satre said. “We need to work as a team and be more aggressive to make sure we’re always working for the ball and making the hustle plays.”
The Lady Devils wore special warm-up shirts in honor of the late Dorothy Speck and her struggle with ALS, a rare degenerative muscle disease. Dorothy’s daughter Cathy Speck, a DHS graduate and former Devil hooper, was on hand the entire tournament. After the game she spoke with the team.
Each year, Speck invites the team to join her in the Walk for ALS, an important event that helps raise funds to help find a cure for the disease.
“[Speck] told us that even playing with Davis legend Denise Curry, her team never won the Speck Tournament,” Satre said.
That speaks to the quality of teams that play in the tournament each year; this year’s competition featured defending state champion McClatchy and local heavyweights Salesian and Whitney.
Junior Sarah Grahn remained sidelined with a foot injury throughout the Speck tournament, and a timetable for her return is unknown.
Davis looks to add another to the win column on Monday, Dec. 8 with an away game at River City in West Sacramento.
“If we keep playing hard and practicing with the mentality that we have to work hard all the time, we could be a really great team,” Satre said. “We just haven’t gotten there yet but I think we’ll be there soon.”