Davidson County Community College came into Tuesday’s rematch against Mt. Zion with a lot on their minds.
Head coach Matt Ridge was not in attendance due to illness, and the Warriors were the only team to have beaten the Storm, who are currently ranked 10th in the latest NJCAA Division III national poll. Assistant coach Jon Weavil filled the top spot on the bench and had DCCC prepared for the challenge, guiding the team to a 107-100 shootout win at Brinkley Gym. The Storm placed five in double-figures led by freshman standouts Brandon Davis and Daniel Lawson with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Robert Story and Torian Showers scored 16 a piece with Corey Burnette contributing 10.
“This was a really good opponent that came in here earlier in the season and really took it to us,” said Weavil, who is in his third season as an assistant. “We really focused and thought if we came out here and played hard and smart that we could get a win. I thought our energy was great.”
Davidson laid the foundation for the victory in the first 20 minutes. Davis exploded for 16 first half points, scoring 10 in the opening seven minutes to help the Storm open up a 23-13 advantage. The margin hovered around 10 for much of the final 13 minutes until the Storm used a run to build a 62-45 halftime lead while shooting 60 percent from the field.
Weavil warned his team at the half the Warriors were going to come out feisty and aggressive and they did just that. DCCC lost some of its fire and energy over the break, allowing Mt. Zion to score the first six points of the second half. After a timeout, the fire was back. Burnette scored six straight points for the Storm, finished by a slam off the lob from Davis. When Davis added an offensive rebound and layup next trip down, the lead was back up to 17.
“Coming out of the half I told them they were going to come at us hard,” Weavil said. “They were going to try and give us a knockout blow, which they did. Once we took the timeout and settled down a little bit, we got a couple buckets and got back into it.”
They were not completely out of the woods, yet.
Mt. Zion put five fresh bodies in and made a larger charge this time.
J.T. Milliner scored all 15 of his second half points over the course of a 25-9 run to erase nearly all of the deficit and leave the Warriors just one point off the pace. Davidson was up to the challenge.
Lawson and Davis scored buckets to push the lead to five. Seconds later, Showers spotted up for a trey but was off target. An offensive rebound allowed for an extra possession and Showers was left open again. He would not miss this time, splashing in a 3-ball to bring the score to 86-78.
Mt. Zion got back to within four on Elijah Wilson’s dunk with 27 seconds remaining, but were held scoreless to the end.
“They threw us a really hard blow in the second half,” said Weavil. “We withstood it and we showed a lot of character to take care of business.”
Notes: DCCC improved to 11-1 ... The Warriors had six score 10 points or more led by Shaquille Mosely’s 22 ... The Storm hit 24 of its 28 free throw attempts.