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Prep boys basketball: Davis hammers Herriman in 5A tourney opener

Published: Tuesday, March 4 2014 5:25 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — There would be no stunning state tournament upset in this one.

Not this time. Not even close.

Indeed, whenever a decided underdog shocks the world by rising up and knocking off a huge favorite, it's one of many memorable things that make high school basketball such a joy to watch.

But Davis High has been here many times before, occasionally playing the frustrating role of the favorite who suffers a devastating, season-ending defeat. And there was no way these determined Darts were going to let that happen to them on Tuesday.

Not this time. Not even close.

Instead, this year's Region 1 champs got a double-double from senior center Elijah Kletzli, double-digit scoring from two other players and a fierce defensive effort fueled by senior guard Jaydon Ryan to hammer Herriman, 67-37, in a Class 5A first-round mismatch at the Huntsman Center.

"We've been in that position before. We've been a (No. 1 seed) and been knocked out," said longtime Davis High head coach Jay Welk. "That's happened to us twice, so you learn a lot in those situations.

"First-round games are so scary. And one thing I've learned over the years is you can't take games like this (lightly) — and we know we've got a pretty good basketball team — but they have the leading scorer in the state (David Maynard) and they're a young team, they're a hungry team.

"But I thought our kids responded well. They stuck to the script and did a good job, so I was really pleased with that," Welk said. "Teams will just get better as we go, so we've got to pick our game up from this one."

Kletzli had 20 points on near-perfect 10-of-12 shooting and he also pulled down 11 rebounds for the Darts (20-2).

"My teammates just gave it to me in our sets and they were just finding me, creating for each other, passing and assisting," Kletzli said.

"Herriman's a good team, and we knew that. We knew that we had to come out to play. I mean, it's the state tournament and anyone can get upset, anyone can lose. So you've just got to be ready every single game and make sure you take care of business."

Davis junior guard Jesse Wade scored 16 points and had six steals, and Matt Morrell added a dozen points along with seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and six steals of his own.

Ryan sparked a stellar Davis defense that held Herriman to just 21-percent shooting and limited the Mustangs' Maynard to just 11 points, less than half his season average of 23-plus ppg.

Senior guard Abel Porter contributed eight points and five assists for Davis, directing the Darts' offense with precision and unselfish passing. They shot 56 percent from the field — 14 of 25 in each half — and had 17 assists, 14 steals and just nine turnovers.

"That's our goal. We want to play defense and we want to pass the ball," Porter said. "That leads to a bunch of layups, and I think Elijah was a big benefactor of that today. He had a huge game.

"He's that big inside presence that we need on defense and on offense, and he was finishing everything today. They really couldn't stop him and we just kept going to him."

For Herriman (12-11), Maynard managed just 4-of-12 shooting from the field and was the Mustangs' only player in double figures.

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