KAYSVILLE — Jesse Wade is a 15-year-old sophomore at Davis High that loves Taylor Swift, singing in the shower and, although he’s probably 150 pounds soaking wet, will repeatedly express his passion for eating if you ask him.
He recently received his learner's permit and starts driver education next semester. Thus far, one of the shining moments of his high school life involved getting mentioned in a tweet from the official Twitter account of one of his favorite movies, “Wreck-It Ralph."
“I love Wreck-it Ralph,” Wade chuckled.
So yeah, he's still just a kid.
But he sure doesn't act like one on the hardwood. Doesn't play like one either.
Tuesday against Weber on his home court, Wade was assigned to buckle down on Hayden Schenck — the second-highest scorer in the state at 26.9 points per game. The poised, confident young guard responded to the challenge, and eventually outdueled the Warriors’ star player in the Darts' 68-54 win.
“Hayden is good player and he’s going to get a lot of points. He has the ability to get to the line and Jesse did a great job on him tonight,” Davis coach Jay Welk said. “Jesse is a competitor and he wants to do well. I thought he did a great job for a young guy. He plays with a lot of confidence. He’s a good asset, for a young player, for our team.”
Early on Tuesday, Schenck did find success. With just under three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Schenck put Weber ahead 10-8 on his eighth point of the game. He started 4 for 4 from the field.
“I knew in order for us to have a good chance of winning that he needed to be stopped on (offense) because he’s a great player and he gets to the basket really well,” Wade said of Schenck.
The Darts (12-1) clamped down defensively and embarked on a 14-2 run after holding Weber (12-2) without a field goal for nearly six minutes. Davis, incredibly, maintained the defensive intensity with its original starting five on the court. The Darts' first substitution occurred with 4:03 left in the second quarter.
Weber, ice cold from the perimeter, fought back with layups from Garrett Beckey and Mason Miles and a straightaway 3-pointer from Schenck to cut the deficit to 22-19. The teams then exchanged buckets and free throws when, off a missed layup, Cole Hally emphatically flushed home a two-handed, putback dunk to give the Darts a 27-21 cushion with 2:18 in the second.
With the lead the Darts sacrificed their frontcourt — fouling out two bigs and another with four fouls — knowing the Warriors' inability to connect from outside and the free-throw line (18-30 FTs).
That paid off.
A difference undoubtedly was the inconsistency of Weber's role players. Davis purposely allowed the other four players beside Schenck to fire away and the Warriors finished 17 of 43 on the night with only a handful of buckets outside the paint.
Weber's "record speaks for itself and they’re a good basketball team," Welk said. "We took care of business on our court and that’s what teams have to do.”
On the opening play in the third quarter, Davis' Abel Porter lolled the defense to sleep and lobbed an alley-oop to Hally. With the momentum, the Darts enjoyed another mini 6-0 run to build a 33-24 lead.
On defense, the Warriors had no answer to counter Davis’ offensive efficiency. Weber, trying to keep the Darts on their heels, switched repeatedly from man-to-man, 1-3-1, 2-3 and 1-2-2 zones.
Weber, similar to before, clawed back behind Miles, Beckey and Austin Tesch, who combined for seven quick points to pull within 36-31 with 2:37 in the third.
Davis turned to its senior marksman: Porter. The 6-foot-2 gunner drilled consecutive treys and Wade followed with another from distance to extend the lead back to double figures and ultimately out of reach.
“You got to be able to make baskets and we got guys who can make baskets,” Welk said. “That’s the expectation — to be good defensively you’ve got to be good offensively also.”
Porter finished with 15 points, 12 of which came from beyond the arc, and Wade tallied a game-high 23 points with two 3-pointers.
Schenck managed 22 points, but it didn’t come easy. After the perfect start, Wade frustrated him into 3-of-12 shooting — with the majority of his points coming at the line in the wining moments.
“Our strategy the whole time was to go under the picks on Schenck to force him to shoot,” Wade, who only committed one foul on one of the best penetrators in the state, said. “He’s a good shooter but he’d rather drive. On the time that I’d go over when I wasn’t supposed to he’d get to the basket and when I’d go under he’d be hesitant to shoot the ball.”
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