The winning play designed by Springfield coach Isiah Carson on Wednesday night wasn’t for Danny Davis. But Davis’ day is coming.
Davis was as precocious as a freshman can be during Springfield’s dramatic 69-67 victory over Wayne. He scored 19 points and made five 3-pointers, including one in the Wildcats’ final frantic comeback.
“He gets his opportunities, he steps up and he knocks it down,” Carson said in a hallway crowded with happy Springfield players and fans. “He has the poise of a junior or senior.”
The Wildcats were celebrating a second victory this season over Wayne, a team they had previously beaten only once since the 2008-09 consolidation season. The Wildcats and Centerville sit atop the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division at 4-1. Wayne and Beavercreek are in second place at 4-2.
Springfield’s winning play was designed for junior point guard Dae’Shawn Jackson. But he passed out of a double-team to junior guard Henry Alexander, who swished the winning 3-pointer from the right corner with three seconds left. It was Alexander’s second such shot this season, so for now he gets to take the last one.
Davis, though, will have his chances. He displayed his scoring ability at pressure times to twice keep Wayne from running away from the Wildcats.
“He got us going in the offense,” Jackson said. “Without him I don’t know what would’ve happened.”
Davis made consecutive 3-pointers late in the first quarter to keep the Wildcats’ deficit at two. He capped a less-than-two-minute 12-0 run in the second quarter with two more 3-pointers to put the Wildcats up 24-20. The second came on a fast break 23 seconds after the first.
“I was just in the moment,” Davis said of the quick shot. “I was feeling it. So I shot it.”
Davis is the fourth-best 3-point shooter in the GWOC at 48.3 percent after making 5-of-8 against Wayne. He has also built a 13-point scoring average with creative shots near the basket. His second two-pointer was a difficult shot in the lane followed by a 3-pointer that cut Wayne’s lead to 64-63 with 2:51 left.
“At the beginning of the season I was kind of iffy, thinking about what to do,” said Davis, who has scored in double figures nine times in 14 games with a high of 23. “But as we go along my teammates have helped me pick it up, tell me what to do. And I’m just fitting in with them pretty well.”
Davis says Jackson, Alexander and sophomore Darius Harper are great role models. Jackson, in turn, said he is impressed with Davis’ adjustment from star eighth-grader to being on a team full of good players.
Said Alexander: “We love him. We gotta keep him focused, keep his confidence up, remember he’s a freshman, let him know that we’re here for him.”
“Prep Spotlight,” which touts itself as the No. 1 high school basketball magazine in the Midwest, published a list of 92 freshmen to watch in Ohio this year. Davis was highlighted as one of the top three on the list.
“He’s a special guy,” Carson said. “There’s three more years, so you all are going to be talking about him a lot.”