Dalen Davis dazzles as Young knocks off Kenwood

Dalen Davis orchestrated a 75-62 win against the Broncos in the Class 4A UIC Supersectional. Young will face Barrington in the state semifinals on Friday in Champaign.

SHARE Dalen Davis dazzles as Young knocks off Kenwood
Young’s Dalen Davis (3) takes the ball to the basket over Kenwood.

Young’s Dalen Davis (3) takes the ball to the basket over Kenwood.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Young took the court with a notable absence Monday. Guard Marcus Pigram was out with an ankle injury, and junior forward Daniel Johnson started in his place. Johnson is a terrific player, but Pigram’s absence left the Dolphins’ backcourt thin.

That meant junior Dalen Davis had to do it all. He had to find a way to limit turnovers and control the pace against the speed and waves of athletic depth Kenwood was bound to throw at him.

Davis succeeded, orchestrating a 75-62 victory against the Broncos in the Class 4A UIC Supersectional. Young will face Barrington in the state semifinals Friday in Champaign.

‘‘We have the best guard in the city, so it didn’t matter how many we had on the court,’’ Dolphins coach Tyrone Slaughter said. ‘‘He isn’t All-Area or any of those things, but he’s pretty good.’’

Davis finished with 18 points and seven assists and shot 6-for-9 from the field.

‘‘The schedule we played this year prepared me,’’ Davis said. ‘‘We just want to leave a mark. Our goal from the start of the year has been to win city and to win state.’’

Young (25-9) jumped out to a 30-19 lead, but Kenwood (26-9) rallied and tied the score at 48 on a free throw by Davius Loury early in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Xavier Amos, who finished with 19 points and five rebounds, responded with a three-point play to give the Dolphins the lead back for good.

‘‘It wasn’t about what they were going to do to us,’’ Amos said. ‘‘It was about what we were going to do. So we locked in.’’

Junior Dai Dai Ames led the Broncos with 21 points and five assists. The matchup between Ames and Davis was spectacular and part of a burgeoning rivalry between the schools. Or not.

‘‘Let me dispel that myth,’’ Slaughter said. ‘‘There is no rivalry. They have no state championships, and we have five. They have never really beaten us in anything substantive. They have created a rivalry. We don’t see it as a rival.

‘‘As of today, we have shown that we have a superior program with a superior team. Our girls beat their girls in the state playoffs and sent them home. Our boys have done likewise. We are the city champs. There is no rivalry. That myth is over. You have to beat someone to have a rivalry.”

Mike Irvin, in his first full year as Kenwood’s coach, disagreed.

‘‘I’m just getting started,’’ Irvin said. ‘‘He’s 2-1 against me, but . . . I have the best player in the state, Dai Dai Ames. He electrified that crowd tonight. I don’t think it is going to be a rivalry next year because I have Ames and [Loury] coming back. He’s right. There isn’t going to be a rivalry because I’m going to beat him every time after this.’’

Johnson finished with 15 points and AJ Casey with 14 points and six assists for Young. Johnson missed most of the season with an injury, but he has become a key factor for the Dolphins recently.

‘‘He brings energy out on the court for us,’’ Casey said. ‘‘He’s one of the best shooters on the team, and he defends well and rebounds. He just gives us that extra effort.’’

Watch the final minute of Young vs. Kenwood:

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