Winter sports are underway as both varsity basketball teams opened their seasons with home wins over Durham School of the Arts on Wednesday. In this week’s Cavs Corner, we preview our varsity basketball teams as both look to match or improve on last year’s No. 8 seeds in the state tournament.
Varsity Boys Basketball
A conference championship, a huge win over Ravenscroft and a home game in the state tournament were highlights of last year’s 23-6 boys hoops season. Despite the losses of 1,400- point scorer Jorden Davis, big man Nick Beischer, defensive stopper Caleb Vanderburg and Xavier Nonez, this year’s DA boys squad hopes to have a repeat of last year’s special season.
Leading the way for the Cavs will be a trio of senior guards: Charlie Mendys (9.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg), Jack McCallie (7.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg) and Tyler Carpenter (3.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg). Mendys and McCallie will do the bulk of their scoring from beyond the 3-point arc as these two combined for 91 3-point baskets a year ago. Carpenter will look to use his toughness to create an inside threat from the guard position. Senior Joey Savarino (1.2 ppg, 0.8 rpg) has looked very good in pre-season practices and will contribute with his stellar long-range shooting and should help with minutes from the forward position. Rounding out the Class of 2018 is forward Shane Smith (1.0 ppg, 0.6 rpg), who will provide big-man depth for the team. After a year away from Durham, junior Bryant Randleman (9.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.8 apg – stats as a DA student in 2015-2016) returns to provide leadership, length and explosiveness to the Cavaliers’ lineup. Randleman was impressive by averaging more than 10 points per game in the Cavs three scrimmage games in Greensboro on Saturday. Junior Michael Savarino (5.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg), another threat from the guard position, has a pure jumper and a high basketball IQ. Savarino shot 41 percent from 3-point range a year ago. Sophomore Davis Beischer (0.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg) will have an expanded role this year as he looks to use his strong frame to help the Cavaliers with scoring and rebounding. Rounding out the group of returners is ninth-grader Cole Sinclair (4.4 ppg, 1.7 rpg), who was an impressive contributor a year ago as an eighth-grader. Sinclair’s ability to score from all three levels will help the Cavaliers put points on the board. This year’s squad welcomes three newcomers to the team, including juniors Henry Rogers and Jasiah Davis. Rogers led the team in rebounding in Saturday’s scrimmages, and his size will be a welcome addition to this team of mainly guards. Davis is a defensive stopper who excelled on the JV team a year ago. Sophomore Benny Klein, another product of last year’s JV conference championship team, will provide strength inside coming off the bench.
The Cavaliers boys will be tested this weekend as the Cavs travel to North Raleigh Christian Academy for showdowns with 3A teams Hickory Grove and Southlake Christian from Charlotte. Both games will have major playoff implications. Other big early contests will be a home matchup with Charlotte Latin and dates with Durham public schools Jordan and Riverside. DA will travel to Atlanta over winter break for a tournament hosted by the Westminster Schools. This year’s boys basketball team should be exciting on the offensive end with a reliance on the 3-pointer and, as always under Tim McKenna, a defensive-focused team looking to hold opponents to under 50 points per game.
Home win over DSA
After a rocky start, which saw the Cavs trail Durham School of the Arts 15-11 after one period, the DA boys got on track — taking the season-opener 77-59 over the Bulldogs. The DA offense exploded for 29 second-quarter points to take a 40-32 lead into halftime. While the Bulldogs hung around in the second half, the Cavs were able to put the game away late. Senior Charlie Mendys matched a career-high 19 points on 7-12 shooting. Senior Tyler Carpenter came off the bench to have his best day in a Cavaliers uniform with career-highs of 16 points and 9 rebounds. Junior Bryant Randleman made his return to DA an impressive one with 14 points, 8 boards, 5 assists and a monstrous dunk late in the game that sent the DA student section into a frenzy. Senior Jack McCallie was the fourth Cav in double-figures with 13 points on 5-5 from the field. Overall, the Cavs shot 55 percent from the field and had 18 assists.
Varsity Girls Basketball
Coach Krista Gingrich-White and her crew are excited to start the 2017-2018 season with a veteran team looking to improve on last year’s 15-10 season and a first-round home game in the state tournament. Senior Izzy Strigel (18.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and her 19 points per game average returns to lead the Cavs. Her 50 3-pointers last season amounted to twice as many as her next closest teammate. Erin Dilweg (9.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.0 spg) will once again provide athleticism in the front court, as she routinely led the Cavs in steals last year. Nicole Riepl (3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg), second on the team with 25 3-pointers a year ago, will provide stability in the backcourt. Audrey Monson (0.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg) is already off to a great start with her 6-rebound performance in Wednesday night’s win. The junior class starts with the team’s leading rebounder Imani Spence (6.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg). Spence’s powerful inside game will complement the shooting of Strigel and Riepl. Jenny Drury (0.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg) and Morgan Doyle (0.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg) will both provide depth off the bench. Sophomore Claire Middleton (2.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg) had tremendous growth last year as a post player and will help with inside play this year. Cristina Pastor-Valverde (0.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg) and Brooke Aurentz (0.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg) are two more experienced guards who can provide quality minutes for the Cavs. The lone newcomer to this year’s squad is ninth-grader Amelia Kass, who had 6 points and 5 steals in her DA debut on Wednesday.
The DA girls once again face a challenging schedule with 3A battles against Hickory Grove (21-6, state quarterfinalist), Rabun Gap (12-15, state semifinalist), Charlotte Latin (12-14, state quarterfinalist) and Providence Day (defending state champs), all in the next month. Local public schools Jordan and Riverside will both host the Cavs before the end of the calendar year.
This year’s team seems to have all of the pieces for a successful year, starting with Strigel’s prolific scoring activity. With Dilweg’s athleticism and energy on both sides of the ball, the shooting from Riepl and newcomer Kass, the inside play of Middleton and Spence, and the plethora of guards off the bench, there is a lot of excitement surrounding this squad.
Great defensive effort in season-opening win
The DA girls started the 17-18 season strong with a 49-16 win over previously unbeaten Durham School of the Arts on Wednesday night in Kirby Gym. The Cavs held the Bulldogs to just 3 first-half points and led 18-3 at the break. Senior All-State Izzy Strigel scored a game-high 20 points while senior Erin Dilweg joined her in double-figure scoring with 13. Senior Audrey Monson had 6 rebounds while ninth-grader Amelia Kass was impressive in her first game with 6 points and 5 steals. The Cavs are 1-0.
Next Week in DA Athletics
Both varsity teams are in action this weekend as North Raleigh Christian hosts a four-team event. The DA girls play at Jordan on Tuesday, while the DA boys host Jordan on Tuesday night. Our swim teams will open their season after Thanksgiving with a meet at North Raleigh Christian on Nov. 30.
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.