Judge came out really tough, and we just had to play through it, so we didn’t really get to play the game we wanted. —Davis guard Abel Porter
KAYSVILLE — After playing a bunch of finesse teams as of late, Davis ran into a Judge Memorial team Wednesday night that certainly wasn’t afraid to throw its weight around a little bit and play a physical brand of basketball.
That was just fine with the Darts.
After spending the opening quarter adjusting to the physical play, Davis took over from there to extend its winning streak to five straight with an impressive 78-56 win over the Bulldogs.
“Judge came out with a game plan and I think it was to try and play that physical type of defense, and I thought our kids responded very well. I thought for the most part (we) stayed to the plan that we needed to execute offensively,” said Davis coach Jay Welk, whose team has scored 76-plus points in four straight games.
Davis’ dynamic guard line of Jesse Wade and Abel Porter combined for 40 points, with big man Elijah Kletzli adding 20 points and nine rebounds.
Kletzli continued his torrid start to the season in the victory. The 6-foot-7 senior came into the game shooting higher than 75 percent from the field, and he continued that phenomenal productivity with a 7-of-11 shooting performance.
“Part of it is shot selection; part of it is staying aggressive,” said Welk.
Kletzli is averaging 17.3 points so far this season, and he’s quickly dispelling the notion that Davis is a two-man team with Porter and Wade.
“Elijah has been an amazing surprise,” said Porter, who had six rebounds and three assists to go along with his 17 points.
Porter scored seven of those points in a decisive second quarter that was realistically all about defense. With Davis leading 19-12 after the first, Welk challenged his team to really lock down defensively and control the defensive glass.
The Darts responded by outscoring Judge 16-5 in the second quarter to open up a 35-17 halftime lead. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but they got the job done.
“Judge came out really tough, and we just had to play through it, so we didn’t really get to play the game we wanted,” said Porter.1 comment on this story
Despite falling behind by 21 points early in the second half, the undefeated Bulldogs weren’t about to roll over. After going 0 for 9 from 3-point range in the first half, Judge made 6 of 12 in the second half to keep things interesting.
Three straight 3s by Judge’s Ryan Pauley early in the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 63-48 with just more than five minutes remaining. That was as close as the Bulldogs could get, though, as Davis continued to attack the basket and get to the free-throw line.