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STORM Basketball Finds a Way to Gut Out a Win Against Fayetteville Tech

STORM Basketball Finds a Way to Gut Out a Win Against Fayetteville Tech

January 25, 2024 – With their backs against the wall facing a Region X rival poised to pull off a massive road victory, Davidson-Davie men’s basketball did what championship-caliber teams do Wednesday evening. Keep their composure and find a way to gut out a win.

The STORM rallied from a 13-point, second-half hole to reclaim the lead, then held off several challenges by Fayetteville Tech late to secure a crucial 88-79 decision in front of a packed house inside Brinkley Gym. The result gives Davidson-Davie a two-game lead in the conference standings at 11-1. FTCC slips into a tie for second at 9-3.

Storm Basketball Team in Huddle
STORM Basketball team huddle together prior to the Fayetteville Tech game
“That is what championship teams do,” said STORM head coach Matt Ridge of the second-half comeback. “I thought we responded well and didn’t panic. Once we got the lead, I thought our guys mentally had a bit more poise.”
The upset-minded Trojans were certainly the ones playing with poise first half as they came ready for a fight. In the previous five meetings between the two clubs, the outcome was decided by five points or less. Davidson-Davie was fortunate to win all of those, but the guests were ready to avenge those losses and break the cycle.
With strong guard play, the Trojans were carving up the STORM defense and putting them in early foul trouble. An 8-0 run from Tristin Harkins alone had FTCC leading 33-25. Their advantage would grow to 13 and stood at 48-38 after one stanza.
“We couldn’t keep the ball in front of us,” Ridge said. “Every time I turned around, they were getting into the lane and we were putting them on the free throw line. They shot 25 free throws in the first half.”
FTCC continued to thrive on offense second half, once again pushing ahead by 13, and still holding strong up 60-49 following an Aldrick Edwards layup in transition.
Due to the inability to cut off dribble penetration, Ridge did something he doesn’t like to do often – switch to a zone defense. It was a decision that paid off.
With the driving lanes much narrower, the STORM were better able to contain the Trojans and force them into tougher shots. Ethan English was a key cog in ramping up the defensive intensity and the energy finally started to flow for Davidson-Davie.
English had a couple of steals and layups as part of a 14-0 burst that catapulted the STORM in front at 63-60, nearing the midway point of the second half.
“That run was huge for us,” said Ridge. “We got some big stops on defense. I thought we cut off some of those driving lanes and did a good job of moving our feet and making them shoot contested shots. We just couldn’t allow them to keep getting to the line or get layups.”
It looked like the STORM may pull away with Jakob Moore driving in for two and Nygie Stroman swishing in a 3-pointer on the wing to make it 72-64. But the Trojans were not going to just lay down. Instead, they looked to their dynamic guards to bring them back in it. Harkins and Gerren Jones combined for some big-time shots, pulling their team even at 78-all with just over a minute remaining.
Davidson-Davie needed someone to make a play and Moore did just that. The power forward hit the offensive glass for a putback, propelling his team back in front for good. DJ Suggs added two pressure free throws, while English and Stroman provided the exclamation points with two dunks.
“It is always tough to play against gritty teams that bring their best when they play us,” said Moore, who netted a team-high 21 points. “We knew they would be tough coming in. We tried to stay poised when we got down. We didn’t look at the scoreboard and just played our game. This win feels great.”
Stroman ended the evening with 18 points, with Trey Fields adding 12 and English 10. The Trojans were paced by Harkins’ 23 points. Jones had 18.
Now 18-1 overall, Davidson-Davie will host another Region X opponent in Pitt Community College on Saturday at 3 p.m.
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