November 11, 2023 – Fresh off a grind-it-out road win midweek, Davidson-Davie Community College returned to campus for the home opener Saturday afternoon. This one was not nearly as grueling for the nationally ranked STORM.
Led by sophomore Nygie Stoman’s near triple-double, Davidson-Davie ratcheted up the defense and eclipsed the century mark on offense, cruising to a 111-59 rout of Region X opponent Johnston CC inside Brinkley Gym. The No. 4 STORM placed five players in double figures with Stroman collecting 22 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists. Jakob Moore chipped in with 17 points and nine boards as Davidson-Davie moves to 2-1 on the young season.
“We really just wanted it,” said Stroman. “The first two games we really didn’t play the way we wanted to play. We came to practice and regrouped. We wanted to come into the home opener and make a statement and we did.”
A better defensive effort was a point of emphasis for the STORM after giving up an average of 76 points in the two preceding games. Except for one small stretch midway through the first half, the defense was what Davidson-Davie fans are accustomed to seeing.
Racing out to a 7-0 lead, the advantage would stretch to double digits before four minutes had elapsed. Tyler Johnson’s driving bucket provided a 12-2 cushion, and a pair of Alex Reece triples a bit later would raise the margin to 18 with a blowout taking shape. But a letdown on defense for a couple minutes gave the Jaguars some hope.
Immanuel McClain scored six consecutive points as the STORM had defensive breakdowns and missed a layup along with two front ends of bonus free throws. The sudden change in momentum forced Ridge to burn a timeout in displeasure.
“Defensively, I was proud for 90 percent of the game for how hard we played in terms of denying and making passes difficult,” Ridge said. “We were able to limit them to one shot for the most part. But during that stretch, we were not focused and concentrating.”
The stern message from their coach was well received with few lapses occurring the rest of the way. Moore and Johnson threw down a pair of dunks as part of a run that left the Jaguars doubled up at 40-20. In the closing four minutes, the STORM surge continued as the gap increased to 51-27 at the break.
The second half was more of the same with Stroman and Moore taking over in the paint. Stroman threw down a dunk and Moore followed that up with nine straight points. By the time the 13-minute mark came around, Frank Stockton was dropping the hammer on two more slams, putting an exclamation point on a 24-4 run that put the game well out of reach at 75-31.
“Second half our conditioning played a part in the final score,” said Ridge. “I thought we were not fatigued in the second half. We also did a good job of getting the ball inside to Jakob. He is a strength for us, and our players must recognize that when he gets open.”
The STORM shot 48.8 percent from the floor and held a sizable 63-37 advantage on the glass. Reece wound up with 14 points, Parker 12 and Aden Taylor 10.
With a relatively new cast, Stroman believes the team is starting to find its way as much more difficult games await on the schedule. Davidson-Davie will certainly need Stroman to be just as productive moving forward.
“With anything new, there are going to be some growing pains,” said the power forward. “I feel like we are starting to gel together as a team. We had some ups and downs in the preseason, but we are starting to share the ball and finding our roles. I am trying to lead by example on and off the court.”
Coach Ridge sees the potential in this group but knows there is a long way to go and that it will take time for them to fully hit their stride.
“I think we can be pretty good. But it is a marathon and not a sprint. We shouldn’t be our best in the third game in. There are some things I need to do as a coach to get us better by late February and early March.”
The STORM travels to Division I Denmark Tech on Wednesday for a nonconference tilt.