By Kellen Browning,
The Davis High men’s basketball team (4-3) withstood a strong defensive effort from powerhouse Marina High School (9-2) and emerged with a 58-48 victory in its first home game of the season on Thursday, Dec. 17. The first-round win earned the host Blue Devils a spot in the championship bracket of the Les Curry Invitational Tournament.
DHS, which entered Thursday night’s contest averaging 90.3 points per game (third in the nation), was held to a season-low 58 points and went just 14 of 52 from the three-point line. However, the Devils managed to hold off a fourth-quarter Vikings comeback thanks to strong play by senior Ryan Kreidler (13 points and three steals) and improved shooting from deep in the final period.
The Devils led 18-11 after the first quarter and 33-22 at the half thanks to senior Glen Welch’s second-quarter buzzer beater (Welch led DHS with 14 points), but the Vikings never fell too far behind. After several DHS turnovers, Marina trailed by just two points with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Feeling the pressure, the Devils sped their already-quick pace up even more.
After sinking two free throws, Kreidler snatched the ball from a Viking player on the following possession. Moments later, senior Tommy McTygue drained a three-pointer and the Devils regained the momentum with a 52-42 lead; the Vikings never threatened again.
Marina, which traveled from Southern California to attend the Les Curry tournament, lost senior Buzz Stafford to injury with 1:21 left in the second quarter. Stafford, who leads the Vikings with 18.1 points per game, limped off the court after a hard fall and did not return to the game.
Devil head coach Dan Gonzalez said Marina’s defense forced the Devils to adjust mid-game, which led to the high number of three-point attempts.
Thursday’s win sets the Devils up for a second-round rematch at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18 against Rodriguez, a team DHS beat 92-62 in the season opener on Nov. 30. However, Gonzalez expects a more difficult match-up this time around. The winner of that game will play Saturday afternoon for the tournament title.
And despite the poor shooting night, Kreidler remains confident in his team’s style of play and chances of winning the tournament going forward.