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STORM Basketball Moves a Step Closer to Clinching a Regular Season Championship

STORM Basketball Moves a Step Closer to Clinching a Regular Season Championship

Davidson-Davie men’s basketball moved a step closer to clinching a regular-season championship on Wednesday.

While not at their best, the STORM still had too much firepower for visiting Louisburg College to overcome. They used a big run at the midway of the first half to gain separation and never looked back en route to a 91-62 victory in Region X action.

The win inches Davidson-Davie closer to another regular season title. Now 17-1 in conference, the STORM hold a three-game lead over the pack with four games remaining on the schedule.

“It was a good win,” said head coach Matt Ridge. “We didn’t play our best, especially in that first half where we missed a bunch of layups. I didn’t think we shared the ball as much as we normally do in the first half. In the second half, we were just careless with the ball with way too many turnovers. But when you win by 29, I guess you shouldn’t be too upset. We turned them over 29 times, and they only shot 12 free throws to our 32. Clearly, we did some things well, but we must get better and keep our focus. I didn’t think we were that focused tonight.”

The high-powered offense of Davidson-Davie was almost at a standstill the first five minutes of the contest, largely due to the inability to finish around the basket. Several close looks failed to drop, and the outside shots were not working either. That allowed the Hurricanes to dart out to a 12-5 lead.

With the offense sputtering, the STORM turned to the defensive end to help create a spark. For the night, 16 steals contributed to 34 points off turnovers for Davidson-Davie.

The offense finally got going and the early cushion that Louisburg enjoyed evaporated in a hurry. Tyler Johnson’s driving layup knotted the score at 12 apiece, but it would take a few more minutes for the STORM to overtake them. Down 16-13 with 10 minutes left until halftime, the No. 2 ranked team in the country made its biggest move of the night.

Trey Fields converted a free throw and loose ball layup to tie it, then Frank Stockton stole an inbounds pass for a two-handed slam and the lead. The run would extend to 16-1 and conclude on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Aden Taylor.

The gap widened a bit more in the closing four minutes.

DJ Suggs was one that had trouble finding the range on his shot for much of the half, but had it dialed in late by nailing two from deep and adding a layup in transition. The STORM took a 41-24 advantage into the locker room.

“We rely on our defense to turn into offense,” said Suggs, who had a team-high 15 points. “That is what we focus on. We didn’t play well tonight. We missed a lot of layups, and championship teams don’t miss layups. We need to get better.”

The second half was an improvement offensively for the STORM. They shot 58.6 percent and had a better flow. The one negative was 14 turnovers over the final 20 minutes. They had only three in the first half. Even with the carelessness, Louisburg never got closer than 15 points.

“We look at it as a big picture thing in terms of getting better every day,” Ridge said. “Over the course of 30 games, if you can win the handful that you didn’t play your best, you can have a chance to have a special season, which is where we are trending.”

For the STORM, the goal is to make a return trip to the NJCAA Division II national tournament. Suggs has experienced the national stage and knows that if the current edition of Davidson-Davie basketball hopes to reach a championship game for the third time in program history, they must continue to improve. An off night could bring the season to an end.

“We know in a month our season is going to be over with,” said Suggs. “We are either going to be in Danville (Ill.) crying, or we are going to be cutting down nets. Up there is high level play. We need to keep getting better every day.”

Moore notched a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds for the 25-1 STORM. Johnson and Nygie Stroman chipped in with 11 points apiece. Louisburg (12-12) got 18 points from Malachi McLean.

Davidson-Davie returns to the court Saturday to host Bryant & Stratton at 3 p.m.

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