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High school girls basketball: Davis avenges blowout loss to Syracuse nearly a month later

The Darts defeated the Titans 51-41 Tuesday night, powered by junior guard Kylee Mabry’s 16 points

Syracuse’s Rachel Godfrey reaches over Davis’ Phoebe Arnold as they battle for the ball during a game at Syracuse High School on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Syracuse’s Rachel Godfrey reaches over Davis’ Phoebe Arnold as they battle for the ball during a game at Syracuse High School on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

It’s always nice to get a little bit of payback.

After losing to Syracuse by 18 points at home nearly a month ago, Davis got its revenge by beating the Titans 51-41 Tuesday night. Making the win even sweeter was the fact that Davis hadn’t beaten Syracuse since 2019, when Davis’ seniors were just sophomores.

“That was just a fun game with two teams who just played really hard,” said Davis head coach Anne Jones.

Jones admitted after the game that there is a bit of a friendly rivalry between the two squads that dates as far back as junior high school when some of the Davis girls beat some of the Syracuse girls for the district championship.

That somewhat personal rivalry was likely a key motivator for the Darts as they flipped the script and beat the Titans on their home floor by double-digits. Jones said that the sheer effort on both offense and defense is what allowed the Darts to turn the tide.

“They played hard every possession, they battled every possession and 100% of the credit goes to my players,” Jones said.

Davis’ junior guard Kylee Mabry led the improved attack on both sides of the floor. Mabry not only scored a game-high 16 points, but she also made life extremely difficult for the Titans with her active defensive play.

“(Kylee) has a balanced game because she puts in the time in the offseason, and during the season I have to kick her out of the gym because I want to go home,” said Jones.

Mabry — who averages just over five steals per game on the year — frequently got her hands in passing lanes, allowing the Darts to have a steep lead in the turnover margin and control the game.

A somewhat slow start to the game saw Syracuse score 16 in the first quarter, but Davis’ defense responded by limiting the Titans to single-digit scoring in each of the remaining three quarters.

In the previous matchup, the Darts struggled to defend the size of Syracuse’s Gracie Sorensen and Rachel Godfrey, who each finished that game in double figures. Jones said that defending the Titans’ post players was a focus of the Darts.

“We really practiced how to defend their post players,” said Jones. “Our defense really locked it down and mixed things up for them.”

The Sorenson-Godfrey duo was limited to just 12 combined points after scoring 20 combined in last month’s game.

The improved defensive performance for the Darts was complemented by an improved offense. In the previous matchup, the Titans held Davis to just 11 second half points and 32 points overall.

Jones said the Darts had a goal going into the game to score double-digits in each quarter, and the team was able to reach that goal.

The win now swings a great deal of momentum in the direction of the Darts, who are very aware that beating good teams like Syracuse and winning the remaining games will build their RPI ranking and position in the state tournament.

“I hope that the momentum is just a steady climb from here because we still have work to do,” Jones said. “We still have three region games to play and we cannot overlook anybody because on any given night a team can knock you off if you’re patting yourself on the back too much.”