Foothill rallies behind Davis' strong play
WESTMINSTER - For a quarter it looked as if Santa Margarita would blow No. 5 Foothill out of the building. Knights point guard Justin Davis had other ideas.
The Knights came back from a 14-point first quarter deficit and defeated the Eagles, 61-55, to capture the Charlie Wilkins Memorial Classic for the second consecutive year at Westminster High.
The Eagles (8-3) grabbed an early behind the play of big man Joe Furstinger, who dominated the paint throughout the game. The Knights (7-1) got some open looks early, but couldn't connect.
In the second, the Knights picked up the tempo and Davis scored seven in the quarter to cut the lead to two at half time.
Coach Rusty Van Cleave said the Knights got a boost during the quarter from back-up point guard Reed Nakakihara.
"When Nakakihara came in, he really got the ball moving for us from side to side," Van Cleave said. "That got the guys really into the game and playing on both ends of the court."
The Knights trailed by two points at halftime, but took their first lead of the game early in the third quarter.
The Eagles wouldn't back down, though, and went on a run that gave them a 46-41 lead entering the fourth.
Davis routinely got into the lane and scored during the fourth quarter. But his biggest play of the night was when he found Connor Stevens wide open in the corner for a three, which gave the Knights a 55-50 lead with 1:48 left.
The Eagles cut it to three and had a chance to tie it, but the Knights' Eric Patton came up with the game sealing steal.
Van Cleave praised the play of Davis, who scored 25 points and was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
"Justin is getting better every single day for us," Van Cleave said. "He's really at his best when he's getting other involved. When he does that his game takes off to a whole new level.