KAYSVILLE — Abel Porter can't drive a car yet. At least not legally.
But, boy, this kid sure showed he can drive the lane with the best of 'em.
Porter, a 15-year-old Davis High School sophomore who looks forward to getting his driver's license someday soon, drove hard to the basket for a go-ahead, three-point play that put the Darts ahead 45-44 with 15.7 seconds left in Friday's defensive-minded showdown with Fremont.
Nine seconds later, teammate Karter Chisholm tied up Silver Wolves star Brock Smith for a critical jump ball, with the possession arrow pointing the Darts' way. Fremont was forced to foul immediately; Tyson Denney calmly sank both free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining to give Davis a 47-44 lead, and the Wolves' last-gasp 3-point try came up short as the Darts escaped with a gritty Region 1 boys basketball victory.
Porter scored 12 of his game-high 14 points in the second half, including seven straight to start the third quarter. Denney added 10 points for Davis (10-5, 3-1 Region 1), while Chisholm, Braden Koelliker, Jace Johnson and Cole Hally also played vital roles in the victory.
Smith scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter and Jordan Preator added 10 points for Fremont (9-6, 3-1), which suffered its first league loss. Porter was quick to credit his fellow Darts for his huge layup-plus-one in the game's frantic, final seconds.
"That was my teammates opening it up for me," he said. "Tyson (Denney) hit a couple of 3s, and his guy was playing up, so I just give credit to my teammates.
"That's just like practice," Porter said of his clutch play. "We practice all day for that, that's what we've been practicing all year for, and my teammates always give me a good practice defense. ... We had a couple of coaches yelling at me on the sideline (to drive the lane). I have struggled with free throws, but I actually came through. We talked about that at practice to just have confidence at the line. My teammates told me to have confidence this game."
Porter is only the third sophomore to earn a starting position in coach Jay Welk's 22 seasons at the Davis High hoops helm.
"I just tried to come out and prove myself," Porter said, "and coach Welk just gave me a great opportunity and I'm glad that he did. He's a good coach.
"I always knew I wanted to play for coach Welk and for Davis High basketball. We have such a good tradition here, and I wanted to be a part of that.
"Our student section, I think they're the best in the state," Porter said of the Darts' raucous crowd. "They're always there for us, they're always loud in supporting us, and we love having them out to our games."
Welk, who has a state championship and nine region titles on his stellar coaching resume, said his team's fierce defensive effort was huge in Friday's victory. And he pointed out that young Porter has certainly earned his stripes this season.
"He's started every game this year for us," Welk said. "We knew coming into this year that he was a pretty good player. And his teammates have a lot of confidence in him. They don't treat him like he's a sophomore that has to earn his way, they treat him like he's one of them. And he's responded well to that.
"That position he plays on the court for us is huge. But he doesn't want to try and take over the show."
And when the 15-year-old gets an opportunity, he's gonna drive — on and off the court.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company