DANVILLE — It looked like it might be a relatively easy night for the Danville Blue Devils, but they almost got more than they could handle.
In the end, Danville, led by Bryce Staats’ 22 points, hung on to win Friday’s home opener, 69-63, defeating the visiting Northridge Vikings and raising its record to 3-0.
Danville broke out early, 11-2, led by 6-foot-4 sophomore Andy Payne (six points) who hit a pair of first-quarter buckets. The Blue Devils took advantage of nine Vikings turnovers in the first quarter. The Vikings (0-2, 0-1 MBC), who swept the Blue Devils in the two times they faced off last season, only scored four points in the opening quarter.
“Intensity — anytime you’re home on the first (league) game of the season really helps,” said Danville coach Doug Selvey. “We have really worked a lot on defense and that proved the way for us to be successful.”
Austin Hazen (13 points) added more spark to the Danville offense, scoring 11 first-half points. He grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds, resulting in key putbacks as the first half was coming to a close. That, and nine more second quarter Viking turnovers, put Danville in the driver’s seat, 31-17.
“I like to start the game and get people going,” said Hazen. “I’m the sixth man and I just want to fulfill that.”