SAWMILLS — The Draughn boys basketball team used increased defensive pressure to turn a 32-29 halftime deficit into a 66-50 road win Tuesday at South Caldwell.
But right in the middle of the big second-half comeback, the Wildcats (5-0) were dealt a blow that could affect them the rest of the season.
Draughn senior Davantae Reid, a first-team all-county player last winter, went to the floor on a drive to the basket with 6:21 left to play. He was helped to the sideline, where he was evaluated by the Spartans’ athletic trainer.
After the win, Reid was taken to the emergency room where doctors agreed with the trainer’s initial thought: that Reid suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. Reid is going to an orthopedic doctor in the coming days for more testing and a final diagnosis, but the initial news, as Draughn coach Yates Jensen put it, is “devastating.”
Reid shared team-high honors with 14 points, adding five rebounds one day after a season-high 22 points. The Wildcats hit South with a 16-2 scoring run to open the second half, but one more Spartans’ hot stretch got them within 46-42 down before a Reid steal, length-of-the-court drive and three-point play as the third-period clock expired.
Draughn, which is off to the best start in progam history, led by at least seven the rest of the way.
Reid’s classmate, Jaylen Abee, embodied the difference between halves for the guests. He finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four steals after notching just three points, two boards and one steal in the opening 16 minutes.
“First half, they punched us in the mouth,” Abee said. “In the second half, we came back and played better defense, started playing as a team. We picked up our shooting in the third (quarter) too.”
The Wildcats trailed by as much as nine early. Draughn had four steals at halftime but finished with 14 as a team.
“South Caldwell executed very well and made shots. They were hot. They brought their best,” Jensen said. “Their crowd was in it, and I think we were a little shell-shocked at first. Our focus at halftime was just to work hard on defense and push through. That’s the intensity we have to play with for four quarters.”
Draughn’s Eli Poteet scored 14 points with five assists and Jeremiah Daye had his second straight double-double night doing a little bit of everything, posting 10 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals.
Draughn 44, S. Caldwell 39
The Lady Wildcats (4-1) quickly bounced back from their first loss with a key road triumph Tuesday.
Draughn had scored just 18 points at halftime, then scored 16 in the third period alone to create some breathing room it held onto down the stretch.
The ’Cats jumped ahead by 11, but it was still 36-30 when Jenna Davis and Bailey Shuping hit back-to-back field goals in the paint. A Davis pull-up jumper off glass in transition made it 42-30 with 4:41 remaining.
The shot lifted Davis into double figures for the contest, one possession after Shuping had done so. The duo combined for 17 of Draughn’s first 24 second-half points.
Earlier, Davis had found Shuping for the team’s fourth made 3 of the third quarter, more than they had connected on in the entire opening half.
“We hit some shots in the second half. I think that was the biggest difference,” Draughn coach Liz Taylor said. “They were in that zone, and we got some shots to go in that were much-needed.”
Davis and Shuping each scored 11, Hailey Kincaid added 10 and Abby Parker nine.
It was Draughn's first win over South in five all-time meetings.
Draughn hosts Freedom on Friday.
Paul Schenkel can be reached at email@example.com or 828-432-8950.