DCA boys fall to Murray in All ‘A’

Published 3:05 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

RICHMOND — The Danville Christian boys weren’t in class Thursday morning, but they did go to school.

In the Warriors’ first game ever in the All “A” Classic, Murray gave them a lesson in offensive efficiency and a look at a level of competition they haven’t seen much of.

It was a lesson that DCA might not have enjoyed in the moment as their 54-45 loss played out at McBrayer Arena, but it is one that its coach hopes will serve the Warriors well both later this season and in the future.

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“Playing good teams gives you confidence to play other good teams,” Story said. “When we look back at this game and look at where they are and what they could accomplish, we’re going to see that we played a really good basketball team.”

Murray is likely one of the best teams in the statewide small-school tournament, where DCA made its debut in only its third year of eligibility. The Tigers have the second-highest RPI rating in the field, and they displayed a high basketball IQ in keeping the Warriors at bay.

Even though Murray (17-2) didn’t light up the scoreboard, DCA (15-6) struggled on defense to contain an offense that moved the ball efficiently to get just the right shot. The Tigers shot 48 percent overall from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range, and they had 17 assists on their 19 field goals.

“I didn’t see many weaknesses,” Story said. “Even though there were some breakdowns on our defensive end, that’s not an overwhelming score.”

It was enough, however, to defeat a DCA team whose offense was far less effective. The Warriors fell off the pace in a second quarter that saw them go just 2 for 14 from the field, and they shot 27 percent from the field in the first half and 35 percent overall.

“Our offense has been kind of struggling to get some flow to it and just do the little things. When we learn how to do the little things on offense, I think we’ll be a pretty darn good basketball team,” Story said.

Just as the girls team had done the night before, the DCA boys were playing one of the biggest games in program history after qualifying for this tournament for the first time. But the Warriors still have big district games ahead in the coming days and the postseason less than a month away, and Story said he hopes the experience they gained in the All “A” will serve them well in those games and further down the road.

“When we look back at this game and look at where they are and what they could accomplish, we’re going to see that we played a really good basketball team,” he said. “Even in a loss sometimes you can get confidence, and you can improve because you can see how they move the ball and how patient they were to get exactly what they wanted, and we can watch the film and say, ‘Hey, that’s where we need to be.’”

Xavier Yamo had 12 points and six rebounds to lead DCA, whose enrollment is about one-tenth that of Murray.

The game was tied at 7- and 11-all before Murray scored 15 unanswered points. DCA went scoreless for 7:22 before Titus Boyd sank a 3-point shot with 2:01 remaining in the first half.

But the Warriors drew the line there. Ryan Ridge added a 3 and Noah Imfeld hit three free throws after time expired in the first half, and they were within 31-20 at halftime.

They went 5 for 10 overall and 3 for 5 from 3-point range in the third quarter, when Yamo scored five points and Lual Ayiei had four, and reserve Brenden Wright buried a 3 just before the buzzer to cut Murray’s lead to 44-35.

“We made some shots there. When you’re scoring it looks good, and when you’re not it just doesn’t. But we did finish a little bit better … and I felt like we moved the ball a little bit better in that stretch. And our kids fight like crazy. They don’t quit, they just keep fighting.”

Murray kept fighting, too, however, opening the fourth quarter with eight straight points to take its largest lead at 52-35 with 5:52 to play and quash DCA’s hopes for a comeback.

Imfeld and Ridge finished with eight points each for the Warriors. The 6-11 Ayiei had four blocked shots, including two on consecutive shots in the third quarter, and Boyd had three steals.

Trey Boggess scored 15 points to lead four players in double figures for Murray.

Story said winning the All “A” regional and playing in the statewide tourney for the first time has been good for the program, even if Thursday’s result wasn’t particularly good.

“Overall, this experience gives us an opportunity to see that we can take it to the next level, and that’s exciting for the future,” he said.

Boys All “A” Classic
First Round At McBrayer Arena, Richmond
MURRAY (17-2) — Zavion Carman 2-4 0-0 4, Caleb Gill 4-10 0-0 11, Drew May 1-3 0-1 2, Trey Boggess 4-7 7-7 15, Grant Whitaker 4-8 1-1 10, Jeremiah Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Max Rosa 0-0 0-0 0, Aiden Armstrong 0-0 0-1 0, Kobe Watson 4-6 0-0 12, Collin Wilson 0-2 0-0 0, Caleb Wyatt 0-0 0-0 0, Tanner Henry 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-40 8-10 54.

DCA (15-6) — Titus Boyd 2-11 0-0 6, Noah Imfeld 2-9 3-3 8, Xavier Yamo 4-10 2-4 12, Ryan Ridge 3-6 0-0 8, Lual Ayiei 3-7 0-0 6, Billy Inmon 0-0 0-0 0, Grayson Domidion 1-1 0-0 2, Ethan Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Brenden Wright 1-1 0-0 0, Lake Adkins 0-0 0-0 0, Noah Meyer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 5-7 45.

• 3-Point Shooting—Murray 8-18 (Gill 3-6, May 0-1, Boggess 0-2, Whitaker 1-2, Watson 4-6, Wilson 0-1), DCA 8-20 (Boyd 2-4, Imfeld 1-8, Yamo 2-5, Ridge 2-2, Wright 1-1).
• Rebounds—Murray 32 (Carman 9), DCA 22 (Yamo 6).
• Assists—Murray 17 (Boggess 5), DCA 8 (Boyd, Yamo, Ridge 2).
• Total Fouls—Murray 5, DCA 12. Fouled Out—None.