Prep boys' basketball: Davis overcomes slow start vs. Judge

The Darts only scored four points in the first quarter.
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The historic gym at Judge Memorial High School saw its final game of 2012 dominated by two kids who still were trying to wake up after playing four games in five days and having just returned home from a basketball tournament 10 hours away in northern Wyoming.

Abel Porter, who scored a game-high 22 points in Davis' 77-49 win over the Bulldogs on New Year's Eve, said he forgot Monday was the last day of the year.

"All the days are running together," said the junior guard, pressing his hand to his forehead in disbelief.

While the days may be running together for the road-weary Darts, they're still undefeated, moving to 10-0 after overcoming a rough start against 3A Judge Memorial, which dropped to 8-4.

Porter, who drilled five 3-pointers, drew several gasps from the crowd after scoring 19 points in the second half and nailing tough shot after tough shot.

"I think we caught fire," he said.

By "we," Porter meant he and teammate Jesse Wade, a sophomore who sliced through the Bulldog defense like butter in a second-half explosion that featured 56 points after the Darts managed just 21 in the first half. Wade scored 19 points, including 15 in the second half.

The Darts overcame a sloppy start — they only scored four points in the first quarter — to eventually abuse the nets inside the Judge gym.

"We're not worried about what they're supposed to do to us," Wade said. "We're worried about what we're supposed to do to them."

What Davis did was turn up the heat defensively at the beginning of the third quarter, implementing a press defense that forced several Bulldog turnovers and allowed Porter and Wade to wreak havoc in transition as well as from behind the arc.

"For us to be able to come in and have this type of performance against this team really is a good thing for us," Davis coach Jay Welk said.

Playing on the road with confidence comes easy for the Darts. They've played in front of opposing crowds in eight of their first 10 games.

"That's all we do," Welk said, shrugging his shoulders.

Welk credited senior forward Alex Morrell, who scored six quick points in the second quarter, with helping Davis get back on track offensively after several players missed a number of easy shots. Braden Koelliker finished with 14 points for the Darts, while Judge senior Terrell Young was a shining spot for the Bulldogs, scoring a team-high 19 points.

Both Porter and Wade said playing on New Year's Eve wasn't odd to them at all. They said playing at the Energy Classic tournament in Gillette, Wyo., Thursday through Saturday gave the team all it could handle in terms of awkward playing times and a total of 20 hours spent traveling on a bus.

"We know what we can do and we're expected to do it," Porter said.

Right now, the Darts are expected to continue on their unbeaten streak with Porter and Wade at the forefront leading the way.

"They make a lot of plays, but they're also able to make their teammates better," Welk said. "They're those types of guys."