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STORM Basketball Wraps Up Regular Season in a Dominating Way

STORM Basketball Wraps Up Regular Season in a Dominating Way

March 1, 2024  – Davidson-Davie men’s basketball wrapped up the regular season in a dominating way on Wednesday.

Led by a group of six sophomores playing their final game at Brinkley Gym, the No. 2 ranked STORM had the look of a team primed to make a run at an elusive national title. Davidson-Davie got off to a blistering start, never trailing on the night in a 120-64 blowout of Catawba Valley in the Region X finale.

Those six sophomores made sure their last time suiting up at home was going to be memorable. They accounted for 82 points and played the leading role in an 11-0 start that set the tone for the remainder of the evening. Baron Williams led the sophomore charge with a game-high 19 points, while Trey Fields poured in 17 points to go with nine assists. Jakob Moore added 16 points, Nygie Stroman 15, and Zyhir Sims 13.

Storm Basketball Coach draws up play while team watches

“That was a great way to end my last game at Brinkley,” said Fields. “This is going to give us that energy boost going into the postseason.”

Williams and Sims have played limited minutes throughout the season but made the most of the opportunity to start. Their energy was contagious, and the tandem caused a lot of problems for the visiting RedHawks in the opening minutes.

They combined for that 11-0 run by knocking down open jumpers and hustling on defense to create offensive opportunities.
Fields had a front-row seat to the action from his starting forward spot.

“That was so much fun,” he said. “We just went out there and everything was clicking. I was high school teammates with Baron, so it was fun to see him come out and do his thing. We shared the ball well.”

Catawba Valley found its footing and chipped away at the deficit to draw within seven at 18-11. That would be the last time the margin was single digits. Williams drained a pair of 3-pointers as the STORM doubled up the RedHawks at 26-13.

With the outside shots falling, that opened the lane for Davidson-Davie to do interior damage. Aden Taylor found the path to the basket easier to navigate on a drive from the top of the key. The traffic in the lane parted for the guard to throw down a two-handed slam. Fields slashed in for a dunk of his own, then Taylor sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a windmill slam just before the halftime buzzer. Davidson-Davie went into the half with a commanding 61-30 lead.

“I was just so proud of those sophomores,” said STORM head coach Matt Ridge. “They came out with a purpose and played with passion and supreme confidence. That was fun to watch.”

The second half was just as good for the regular season champions. They backed up the 61-point performance in the first half, with 59 in the final stanza. The STORM hit the century mark with six minutes left.

Davidson-Davie (29-1) connected on 14 treys and shot 53.8 percent from the floor. They held a good outside shooting CVCC team to just three makes from behind the arc.

“Catawba Valley plays so fast and they shoot so many 3s,” said Ridge. “Tonight, they did not shoot as many 3s as they have recently. I felt like we did a good job of defending the 3-point line which was a huge point of emphasis.”

After going 21-1 in conference, the STORM enter the postseason as the top seed for the Region X tournament that begins next week at Cape Fear Community College. They will open quarterfinal play Thursday at noon against an opponent to be determined.

Fields is hopeful the defending tournament champions can cut down the nets again and get another crack at a national title later in March.
“We’ve just got to stay humble moving forward. We were in this same position last year and things didn’t really work out, but we had a great season. We are looking to get it done this year at nationals. Like I said, we just have to stay humble.”

Ridge echoed those comments in the postgame meeting of staying humble. He knows that from here on out, the focus had better be there every single game. An off night could mean any hopes of contending for a national championship will be gone.

“The ultimate prize is seven games away. Now it is potentially one-and-done, so you have to understand that in the postseason, you better play your best because you are going to get everyone’s best. We are not going to overlook anybody. Our total concentration right now is going to be on the quarterfinal game. We want to knock these three games out and punch our ticket to the national tournament.”

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