By Bria Irizarry, Colleen Gunning and Josh Andreski
The Cavalier basketball programs and swim teams are nearing the end of the 2021–2022 winter season. The girls basketball team had a thrilling, buzzer-beating win over conference rival Ravenscroft School on Tuesday night as junior Kendall Harris put the Cavs ahead 35–34. The girls basketball team will close out the regular season with a matchup vs. Saint Mary’s School tonight and will await the results of playoff seeding on Sunday afternoon, while the boys hoops team will head to Cedar Ridge High School Friday night to close out the regular season. The swim teams head to Greensboro on Monday for the state championships after placing second (girls) and third (boys) in the conference meet last week!
Baseball Coaching Update
DA baseball has a new face at the helm of the program this spring. Dean Dease will lead the Cavaliers in their 2022 campaign after serving as head coach at Orange High School for 34 years and teaching social studies for 33 years. Coach Dease amassed an impressive 504–265 record; coached the Orange High team to the state championship in 2008; was conference coach of the year nine times and Region 3 Coach of the Year (North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association) in 1992 and 2008; and was elected to the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2018.
Dease is looking forward to establishing strong coach-to-player relationships with players who are driven, both athletically and academically, and who demonstrate a passion for the game. He hopes to continue to build depth over the next few years in order to have more student-athletes participating in baseball.
“It is my belief that as the head coach, I need to be the hardest worker on the field,” Dease said. “We want to put a well-prepared and self-disciplined team on the field every day and to be accountable for our actions.”
Dease graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has coached more than 80 players who have gone on to play college or professional baseball. Dease hopes to build a fundamentally sound team in all phases of the game this spring.
“At the end of the season, I hope the guys can look back and be proud of their work and accomplishments,” Dease said.
Director of Athletics Andy Pogach is grateful that the baseball program has been in such good hands over the years and is looking forward to the next chapter. “We are beyond excited to welcome Dean Dease to the DA community,” he said.
“Dean’s record at Orange High School speaks for itself, and we are thrilled to bring him out of retirement to lead our baseball program. I want to thank Tyrone Gould for his leadership and hard work with our baseball program for the last half decade, and I am glad that he will now have more time to devote to his family and new position at our Upper School.”
Gould, who took on a new role as Upper School dean and math teacher in 2021, served as head coach of the varsity baseball team from 2016 to 2021, a time in which he also taught Middle School math. Gould followed Upper School math teacher and registrar Verle Regnerus, who coached the team from 1991 to 2015.
Durham Academy baseball will host its season opener on Tuesday, March 1, at 4 p.m. vs. Durham School of the Arts.
DA’s varsity boys basketball team played two incredibly tough games this past week, nearly completing two fourth-quarter comebacks. The Cavs lost to North Raleigh Christian Academy (NRCA) 60–51 on Friday night and suffered a 64–43 defeat at the hands of conference rival Ravenscroft on Tuesday.
The Cavs opened Friday’s first quarter with three 3-pointers, but the Knights answered and took an early 15–11 lead by the start of the second quarter. The Knights recognized DA's advantage from beyond the arc and countered with strong defense to get the Cavs out of their shooting rhythm. By the end of the first half, the Cavs found themselves in a 33–17 deficit.
When play resumed, senior Alex Dunk and junior Jake Chisholm attempted to rally the team by scoring from the perimeter and keeping the game competitive. The Cavs went on an 18–10 run to start the fourth quarter and seemingly had the momentum to pull off the comeback. However, the Knights dribbled out the clock in their final two offensive possessions, resulting in a 60–51 win in favor of NRCA.
Following the loss to NRCA, the Cavaliers took to the road on Tuesday night to face off with division rival Ravenscroft. The Ravens opened the game with a strong offensive game plan and ended the first quarter on a 14–5 run. However, juniors Bryson Tupper and JP Dilweg found success inside the paint. By halftime, the duo managed to cut DA’s deficit to eight, which gave the Cavaliers an energy boost to start the third quarter.
Dunk and Tupper each knocked down 3-point baskets to go on a 6–3 run and cut Ravenscroft’s lead to five points. Despite the Cavs’ patience on offense and zone defense, the Ravens pushed their lead to 16 and continued to find open shooters on the floor. Ultimately, DA fell to the Ravens 63–43, bringing the Cavs’ record to 7–14 on the year. DA will wrap the regular season on Friday on the road vs. Cedar Ridge High at 7 p.m.
The Cavaliers are 11–8 on the season after splitting conference road games vs. NRCA and Ravenscroft this week.
In Friday’s loss to NRCA, the Knights were quick to jump on offense, leading 25–7 after the first quarter. The Cavs picked up the pace in the second and third quarters, but the gap was too big to recover. DA lost 70–44 to the conference-leading Knights. Ninth-grader McKenzie Graves was seven for nine from midrange, finishing with 16 points, three assists and five steals. Junior Kendall Harris was strong on both ends of the floor with 12 points, six rebounds and two assists. Junior Joelle Davis added six of her eight points from behind the arc and grabbed two offensive rebounds.
The Cavs bounced back on Tuesday night in an exciting game vs. Ravenscroft that came down to the wire. DA held a small lead over the Ravens until the final 30 seconds, when Ravenscroft closed the gap in transition. However, the Cavs came right back, finding Harris in the center of the key to sink the game-winner just before the buzzer and defeating the Ravens 35–34.
Harris led the offense with 15 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Graves followed with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Senior Brooke Epstein put up four points with four key rebounds, and Davis and Williams added in two points and two rebounds each to complete the Cavs’ scoring.
The Cavs will gear up for their final regular season game vs. Saint Mary’s at 5:30 tonight in Kirby Gym and await playoff seeding on Sunday.
The Durham Academy swim teams honored their seniors — Mary Mungai, Matthew Krieger, Jack Liddicoat, Lars Oehler and Edward Rogers — and competed in the TISAC Championships last Thursday at the Triangle Aquatics Center. The girls placed second, while the boys placed third, just 13.5 points shy of first-place Cary Academy.
The relay team of ninth-graders Bennett Harris, Tyler Barritt and Ian Platts-Mills and sophomore Jason Hugh placed third overall in both the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay. Both the boys and girls 200-yard freestyle teams took second place. The boys relay team included seniors Krieger and Oehler, ninth-grader Noah Fine and eighth-grader Ben Brock, while the girls team included juniors Eva Boehlke and MacKenna Morris and eighth-graders Kenzie Kim and Audrey Crowder. The girls team of Boehlke, Morris, Kim and Crowder also earned second place in the 200-yard medley relay.
Individually, Kim and Crowder placed first and third in the 100-yard breaststroke. In the 500-yard freestyle, Harris placed second and Crowder placed third, while Boehlke placed first and Platts-Mills took third in the 100-yard butterfly. Boehlke and Platts-Mills also both earned second place in the 200-yard individual medley, and Harris placed third in the 200-yard freestyle.
The Cavaliers will compete in the state championships on Monday, Feb. 14, at the Greensboro Aquatics Center.
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.
- 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.