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Cavs Corner: Cavs Basketball Playoff Picture
Contributors: Bria Irizarry, Colleen Gunning and Ryan Killen
Twitter: @daathletics
Instagram: @dacavsathletics


The first week of N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association playoff basketball proved to be up and down for the Cavalier basketball programs. The boys team had another player reach a career milestone during Tuesday night’s first-round win against Cary Academy. Senior Toby Harris notched his 1,000th career point as a Cavalier and went on to join ninth-grader Jayde Braswell and senior Cole Sinclair in leading the team to the victory over the Chargers. Boys basketball will travel to take on a strong 23–5 Greensboro Day School team in the NCISAA 4A East quarterfinals on Friday. The Cougars are undefeated in conference play, and Maxpreps.com currently ranks them third in the NCISAA 4A division and in the state.

The 5:30 p.m. matchup between the Cavaliers and Cougars will be livestreamed.

The Durham Academy girls basketball team’s season came to an end on Tuesday night in the Cavs’ NCISAA first-round playoff game at Wesleyan Christian Academy. The girls ended with a 12–8 record overall and 8–3 in conference, and they finished in second place in the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference. This season, the team was led in points by eighth-grader McKenzie Graves (197) and followed closely behind by sophomore Mariam Abdelbarr (195), sophomore Kendall Harris (177) and ninth-grader Lauren Walsh (166). Graves finished with 30 assists and 39 steals, and Walsh had 27 assists and 42 steals. Abdelbarr and Harris led the team in rebounds with 106 and 133, respectively, while Harris also contributed 41 blocks. Even during this unprecedented year, the Cavs came out with a winning record, the third in as many years for the girls basketball program.

Looking ahead, DA spring sports officially kicked off practice Wednesday, and the first spring competitions are just around the corner. You can find a full schedule of events, both home and away, on DA Athletics’ monthly calendar.

Boys Basketball

The Cavs fell 66–65 last Thursday night to Ravenscroft on the road. After falling behind early, DA went on a 16–2 run to take the lead heading into the second quarter. Junior Alex Dunk’s pair of 3-pointers were a key part of that run. In the second half, the Ravens fought back and took a three-point lead until senior Cole Sinclair drilled a 3 to tie it up. 

The closing minutes were an incredible back-and-forth exchange. Whenever one team took the lead, the other seemingly always fired back. After ninth-grader Jayde Braswell made a basket to tie the game once again and made a defensive stop, the Cavs had the ball with 11 seconds remaining and a chance to take the lead. Senior Toby Harris was fouled with 4.6 seconds remaining and converted both of his free throws. The Ravens then took the ball the length of the floor, put up a layup and got the foul at the buzzer. The ensuing free throw was good, clinching the game for the Ravens.

The Cavs defeated Cary Academy 69–59 on Tuesday night in the opening round of the state tournament. The win makes it three years in a row that the Cavs have made it to the quarterfinals in the tournament after going a decade without qualifying once, a remarkable achievement for these players and the program. It also puts DA at 3–1 against Cary Academy this year after taking a loss in its opening night vs. the Chargers.

After a back-and-forth opening 12 minutes, the Cavs gained control of the game and never let go. An early third-quarter run off the back of six straight points from ninth-grader Wyatt DeGraff gave DA a 16-point advantage. Cary Academy came roaring back to cut the lead down to five in the fourth quarter, but once again, free throws and defense reasserted the Cavs’ lead and proved to be enough for the victory.

Braswell had a remarkable all-around performance. He had 16 points, six assists and four steals to help lead the Cavs to victory. Harris came through with an incredible stat line of 16 points and 16 rebounds as he dominated the boards on both ends. Sinclair scored 17 to lead all Cavs scorers.

The Cavs will square off against No. 1 seed Greensboro Day on the road Friday in the state quarterfinals.


Girls Basketball

The varsity girls basketball team’s season came to a close after a regular-season loss to Ravenscroft and Tuesday’s loss to Wesleyan Christian Academy in the NCISAA 4A playoffs.

In the 44–28 loss to Ravenscroft, the Ravens were quick to jump on a lead in the first quarter. However, DA was able to stay competitive with the help of scoring drives from sophomore Kendall Harris through the paint. Harris put up 10 of the Cavs’ 13 first-half points and finished the night with 11 points and six rebounds. Eighth-grader McKenzie Graves followed with eight points and three steals, while sophomore Mariam Abdelbarr pulled down 17 big rebounds and scored four points. The Cavs struggled to get their offense going in the second half after several scoreless trips down the floor, while the Ravens continued to build on their lead for a 16-point win. 

Heading into the state playoffs as the No. 5 seed, DA’s first-round matchup was against No. 4 Wesleyan Christian Academy. The first half was evenly matched with a number of lead changes, but the Cavs found themselves trailing by two at halftime. The Trojans went on a 12–0 run in the third quarter to give them the first real lead of the game. 

The Cavs didn’t give up and were able to cut the lead to four in the final minute of the game. Wesleyan Christian capitalized on the free throws given up in an effort to save the expiring clock, and DA fell 51–43 in the end. Graves led the Cavs’ offense, scoring 12 of her 16 points from beyond the arc, while adding in four rebounds and two assists. Ninth-grader Lauren Walsh followed with 11 points, two rebounds and two big steals in the fourth quarter. Harris and Abdelbarr were big on both ends of the court with seven points, five rebounds and four steals and five points, seven rebounds and three assists, respectively. Juniors Brooke Epstein and Molly Hunter each made a basket to round out the scoring.

The Cavs finished their 2020–2021 season with a 12–8 record, going 8–3 in conference play.

 


 


Keeping up with the Cavs

As always, you can keep up with the Cavs on Durham Academy’s website and the Durham Academy App (available on the Apple App Store).

  • For a list of all teams, their schedules and directions to games, visit www.da.org/teams.
  • Click on an individual team to subscribe to automatic alerts about athletics results, postponements and cancellations, calendar and athletic event reminders. You can also import team schedules into your electronic calendars.
  • All information about the daily athletics schedule is also available on DA’s Athletics Hotline: 919-489-2534 (ext. 5).

The DA App: Schedules and Results

  • The DA App allows you to keep up with athletics wherever you are. You can download the app from iTunes at http://bit.ly/DACavaliers. The DA App pulls athletics content directly from the DA website and delivers it to iOS-based devices including iPhone and iPad.
  • The Athletics portion of the DA App (after launching, click Menu, then click Athletics to open) features results of recent games, a list of upcoming contests and team records.