Written by Stewart Roessler ‘21
Durham Academy’s varsity boys basketball team ended their record-breaking 28-4 season with an unfortunate loss to Greensboro Day School in the NCISAA 4A semifinals. Durham Academy took the lead in the third period after coming back from a 12-point deficit, but Greensboro Day followed with a third-quarter run to end the game 64-43.
The game had some impressive performances, including an 11-point game from ninth-grader MJ Rice and 15 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two assists from senior and High Point University commit Bryant Randleman. Seniors Henry Rogers, Jasiah Davis and Michael Savarino also closed their high school careers with a season that will most definitely not be forgotten.
The Cavs shared the TISAC title and had the most wins in a season in school history. Sophomore Cole Sinclair also set the record for most three-point field goals in a single season. “Playing with the team has been really great for me,” said star ninth-grader Rice. “I feel that we have gotten better as players and individuals, but most importantly we’ve become closer with one another. We’ve had some tough battles and we’ve had some easy ones, but we always gave one hundred percent. Coming into a program like this was a big jump for me because I wasn’t just a part of a team, I became a part of a family. I’m very grateful that I got to play with guys like them.”
Six Cavaliers, including Rice, Randleman and Sinclair, were also recognized at the winter varsity awards program with All-Conference certificates. It marks the third time in DA history that DA varsity boys basketball has placed three players on the All-Conference team. Randleman was named TISAC’s player of the year, and Rice and Sinclair were also voted all-TISAC. For the first time since 2007, DA boys basketball players made the NCISAA All-State team, with Randleman and Rice joining the squad.
The girls varsity basketball team also had one of their best seasons in recent memory. The Lady Cavs made it past the first round of the NCISAA 4A state tournament for the second time in the last 5 years and continued to refuse to go home.
After ending the regular season at 12-12, the Cavs knocked off Cary Academy in the first round of the state tournament, beating the Chargers 35-31 in a comeback win. They continued to get it done in the second round, slipping by No. 6 seed Charlotte Latin in a thrilling 1-point overtime win with multiple players filling up the stat sheet. Eighth-grade sensation Joelle Davis led the team in scoring with 19 points, hitting five threes, and Senior Imani Spence secured the double-double easily, ending with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Senior Jenny Drury continued to contribute, nailing a diving layup in overtime.
Though they would go on to lose to Ravenscroft 49-38 in the quarterfinals, the outstanding play of two athletes was recognized. Davis was the only eighth grader to earn an All-TISAC honorable mention, and her unstoppable shooting streak from three didn’t go unnoticed. Her 78 threes on the season placed Davis at first in TISAC, second across all NCISAA 4A conferences, and ninth in the entire state of North Carolina. She also finished second in TISAC for total scoring with 334 points.
Spence concluded her decorated five-year career on the team with 1,000 rebounds, setting the new school record, while also being named All-TISAC.
“When I was first on the team, I was shy and not the best player, but throughout the years, my teammates and coaches developed me into a stronger leader,” said Spence. “This year was even more special because we were the underdogs with a young team, and we proved them wrong by going further than I ever had. I’m going to miss this team and DA basketball altogether.”
Varsity swimming also wrapped up a successful season marked by young talent, with the boys finishing sixth and the girls placing eighth at the NCISAA state tournament. Both the boys and girls teams made great strides this year, with the girls jumping eight spots over last year’s 16th-place finish with 63 more points and the boys jumping six spots over last year’s 12th-place finish with 80 more points.
Ninth-grader Alfred Honore earned 25 points for the team, placing third in the 100 butterfly event and ninth in the 100 breaststroke. Ninth-grader Stewart Roessler finished seventh in the 500-freestyle and 10th in the 200-freestyle, and ninth-grader Lars Oehler finished 14th in the 500 free. Senior Nathan Dalva-Baird placed 12th in the 50 free. Honore, Roessler, Oehler and Dalva-Baird placed fifth in the 400 freestyle relay and ninth in the 200 IM. The 200 free team of Dalva-Baird, senior Jasper Wolf, sophomore Jay Shanahan and junior Jacob Palmer, placed ninth.
For the girls team, eighth-grader Spencer Jennings placed sixth in the 100 backstroke and eighth in the 100 freestyle. Seventh-grader Maya Dolan earned 10th place in the 200 IM and 15th in the 100 butterfly. Junior Natalie Montefiori finished 15th in the 500 freestyle.
All three DA relay teams finished in the top eight. Senior Haley Leversedge, eighth-graders Meghan Phu and MacKenna Morris and sophomore Quinn Shanahan finished eighth in the 200 free relay. Leversedge, Shanahan, Dolan and Jennings broke the school record in the 400-yard freestyle relay multiple times this season, and their record currently stands at 3:55.75.
The varsity swim team was led by seniors Dalva-Baird, Leversedge and Wolf. Team MVP Alfred Honore described the team as “a wonderful team of dedicated hard workers.” “They pushed themselves no matter what, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to swim with them,” he said. Honore was also presented an All-Conference certificate in recognition of his TISAC meet victory in the 100-yard butterfly.
With a lot of talent coming back next season, the future looks promising for Durham Academy basketball and swimming, and we look forward to seeing what the 2019-2020 season holds in store.