By Owen Yancher,
A year ago, the Davis High women’s basketball team sat fat and happy after taking the Delta League crown and grabbing a high seed with home court advantage in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin section playoffs. This year, the Lady Blue Devils barely eked their way into the postseason party, securing their spot with a Feb. 16 win on Senior Night against Monterey Trail.
The 11th-seeded Devils (13-4, 8-6) will travel to Stockton on Feb. 23 to face the sixth-ranked Lincoln Trojans (20-6, 8-0).
Six of the current 15 players on the DHS squad suited up last season for the 74-67 overtime win that knocked the Trojans out of the second round of the playoffs.
One of those players, team captain Rachael Allison, is optimistic about next week’s matchup.
“Lincoln is an extremely disciplined and well-coached team,” the senior said. “It’s going to be a difficult game for us, but we can definitely win if we set our minds to it.”
Excited to be back in the playoffs, Devil head coach Heather Highshoe has her team focused on gaining momentum. The team had the opportunity to watch Lincoln play earlier in the season at an away tournament.
“Lincoln has a quick and smart point guard in [Lianna] Tillman,” Highshoe said. “Containing her will be important and slowing her down initially. [The Trojans] also have strong outpace shooters who we know will not hesitate to shoot the three.”
After last season’s overtime game, Davis knows it needs to be at its best next week to advance. Allison highlighted shut-down defense and offensive rebounding as keys to the game.
“We need to believe that we can do it,” she said. “If we do all these things, we can and we will win.”
As the contest approaches, Highshoe wants her players thinking a certain way.
“My message has been to get ourselves into a playoff mindset,” she said. “[To] focus on execution on both ends, and to make the most of this opportunity.”