DANVILLE — The Danville Blue Devils went up against an undefeated team last night –– but don’t tell them. Their coach is keeping that a secret.
What isn’t a secret is that the Blue Devils went toe-to-toe against the visiting Columbus Horizon Science Academy Hawks on Monday. The two teams were tied with as little as 1:12 left in the game, until the Hawks prevailed, 60-56.
The Blue Devils kept fouls to a minimum as they dominated at times under the offensive boards, taking a 16-10 first quarter lead. Bryce Staats (17 points, 11-for-16 FTs) hit a pair of buckets and a trio of foul shots in the first for Danville. Teammate Sean Durbin (11 points) hit a 3-pointer and another bucket in the first.
“We have a lot of kids with heart and you can’t teach heart,” said Danville coach Doug Selvey. “One thing that Danville people have is heart. They’ll do anything for you. As long as you hold your end of the bargain, they’ll do it for you.”
After being held to a pair of field goals in the second, the Hawks looked like they might take control. Horizon’s Julian Johnson hit a couple of 3-pointers in the middle of the third to open up a seven point lead. Antonio Blount followed with a bucket to make it 39-30 with less than four minutes to go.
That was when Quinton Ferenbaugh struck. Danville’s 5-foot-11 junior hit three successive baskets and, in less than two minutes, they closed the gap to three, 39-36.
It was Danville’s 43 rebounds which kept them in the game. Their offensive rebounding was spectacular at times.
“That’s what we try to teach the kids,” said Selvey. “With us not being as tall as a lot of teams, for us to be able to get offensive rebounds off of long jumpers is what we pride ourselves on.”
Shaun Durbin opened the third quarter with the 3-pointer that tied it up at 42. Casey Sloan hit the back half of a pair of free throws to put Danville in the lead, 43-42, with 6:45 to go in the game. Later, Sloan grabbed a missed free throw from Staats and put it in. Teammate Davis Culler followed with a basket off an offensive rebound to put Danville up 48-44.