In this week’s edition of Cavs Corner, we have a preview of the varsity girls basketball team, which is off to a 2-2 start on the young season. Despite losing Liz Roberts ’16, Durham Academy’s all-time leading scorer, coach Krista Gingrich-White has another talented squad ready to compete for a TISAC title. We will also recap last weekend’s DA Basketball Classic and the great 3-0 start for the varsity boys basketball team.
VARSITY GIRLS SEASON PREVIEW
The DA girls enter the 2016-2017 season without Roberts, who graduated in the spring after having donned a Cavalier jersey for five years. She scored more points than any basketball player in school history. DA will have to find a way to fill the void left by Roberts, who is now a member of the UNC-Chapel Hill women’s hoops team. Roberts scored 38 percent of the Cavaliers’ points last year and took 32 percent of the team’s shots.
Junior tri-captain Izzy Strigel, herself a prolific scorer at 14.6 points per game last year, has already shown that she is ready to try to fill Roberts’ shoes. Strigel has scored 20-plus points in three of the Cavs’ first four games. Junior Erin Dilweg will use her athleticism to be one of the Cavs’ most versatile players this year. Dilweg averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals per game a year ago. Another junior poised for a great year is Nicole Riepl. Riepl, who missed most of the last two seasons with injuries, is back and ready to contribute both inside and out.
Already having a major impact through four games is sophomore Imani Spence. Spence nearly had a triple-double in Tuesday night’s loss to Riverside. A post player a year ago, Spence will spend some time at the point guard position as she will look to create scoring opportunities for her teammates.
A pair of seniors will provide the leadership necessary to make a run at a TISAC title. Grace Drewry, fresh off a great senior volleyball season, is a tough rebounder and defender who averaged 2 points and 4 rebounds last season. Carter Lange is a strong post player who will help with inside scoring and rebounding. Junior Audrey Monson, who returns for her second year on the varsity team, will help with leadership and post play. Sophomore Morgan Doyle will play in the backcourt, as her role will increase due to the graduation of Roberts and fellow guard Serena Walker.
The varsity team has welcomed four new members to this year’s squad. Sophomore Jenny Drury is a scrappy guard who can hit the outside shot. The sky is the limit for freshman Claire Middleton, a post player who has impressed her coaches so far this season. Middleton has already had games of 9 and 12 rebounds. Freshman guards Brooke Aurentz and Cristina Pastor-Valverde will also compete for playing time this season.
The DA girls will once again travel to Charleston, South Carolina, over winter break to participate in the Carolina Invitational, a prestigious tournament that features top teams from around the southeast region. Ravenscroft, last year’s TISAC (Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference) champs and state runner-up, is one of five teams that participated in the 3A state tournament on the Cavaliers’ 2016-2017 slate. If the Cavs want a repeat trip to the state tournament, they will have to hold off the challenge of TISAC foes North Raleigh Christian, Saint Mary’s, Cary Academy and Wake Christian.
WEEKLY VARSITY UPDATE
The girls got off to a rough start on Friday night against a talented Hickory Grove team, as the Lions jumped out to a 15-0 lead. Just when the Cavs thought they were back in the game at 17-11, Hickory Grove held the Cavs scoreless for the next 12 minutes and built an insurmountable 34-11 advantage on the way to a 48-29 win. Erin Dilweg led the Cavs with 14 points, while Izzy Strigel added eight points. The DA girls bounced back just 15 hours later to take a convincing 61-23 win over Southlake Christian Academy. The Cavs led 35-10 at the half and were able to get contributions from multiple players. Strigel found her shooting touch to the tune of a game-high 32 points and seven steals. This was the third 30-point game of Strigel’s career. Claire Middleton added a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
On Tuesday, the Cavs ran into a very strong Riverside team that is ranked 16th in the latest News & Observer top-25 poll. Strigel once again led the Cavs with 24 points and Imani Spence nearly had a triple-double with eight points, 10 rebounds and eight steals.
The Cavalier boys team has raced out to a 3-0 start on the season after two 3A home wins this past weekend in the DA Classic. Senior guard Jorden Davis followed his 30-point performance in the season-opening win over DSA with games of 29 and 24 points to lead the Cavs to victories over Hickory Grove and Southlake Christian. On Friday, DA jumped out to a 21-6 lead after one period over Hickory Grove. After the Lions worked their way back to 28-23, DA used a 13-2 run to put the game away. Sophomore Michael Savarino scored in double figures with 10 points, while junior Charlie Mendys added 9. In addition to his 29 points, Davis also had a career-high 10 rebounds, while fellow senior Caleb Vanderburg had a complete game with three points, five rebounds, three assists and an astonishing three charges drawn.
The Cavs continued their tough play the very next day in a hard-fought, 56-44 win over Southlake Christian. Again, it was a quick start, with DA taking a 17-5 lead as senior Nick Beischer had three baskets early. Southlake hung around for most of the game as the Cavs did not pull away until a 9-1 run midway through the final period. Davis had 24 points on just six shot attempts but was money at the foul line, going 14-16, including 7-8 in the final period. Beischer finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds. The Cavalier boys have not trailed for one second in any of their first three games and have shot 50 percent or better from the field in all three. Davis is off to a 27.7 points-per-game start to the year while shooting 59 percent from the field and 28/36 from the foul line.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Both basketball teams host Covenant Day School from Matthews on Friday evening in Kirby Gym. The Lions and Cavs played two hotly contested games last December. The DA girls squeaked out a two-point win after a double-digit fourth-quarter comeback, and the DA boys lost by one point on the last possession. Friday will be the second time in a week that the boys will play back-to-back games, as they visit Riverside Thursday night. In the final game before Thanksgiving break, both basketball teams will host Voyager Academy on Tuesday night. The Voyager boys were last season’s NCHSAA 1A state champs.
KEEPING UP WITH THE CAVS
As always, you can keep up with the Cavs on Durham Academy’s website and the DA App:
www.da.org/athletics: Schedules and Results
- 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.
- For a recap of athletics results and scores, visit www.da.org/scoreboard.
- 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.
Click infographic below for full resolution.