With his team facing its second undefeated opponent in four days, Walnut Ridge boys basketball player VonCameron Davis drove to the basket Jan. 7 against visiting South as he has hundreds of times during his career.

The senior made a seemingly effortless spin move and laid the ball in to increase the Scots' lead to eight points in the fourth quarter.

South scored on its next possession, but Davis responded again with another layup.

"He's just one of a kind," Scots coach Chuck Jefferson said. "I can't remember a guy, especially in the City League or in central Ohio, who has a knack for scoring the basketball like him. That's what he does well."

Davis, a 6-foot-5 forward, finished with 22 points against the Bulldogs as the Scots won 71-64 to take the lead in the City League-South Division.

Walnut Ridge was 8-2 overall and 6-0 in the league after beating West 101-50 on Jan. 10 and before facing Independence on Jan. 14 and continues league action with home games Friday, Jan. 17, against Africentric and Tuesday, Jan. 21, against Eastmoor Academy.

The Scots also will face Cincinnati Woodward on Saturday, Jan. 18, in Flyin' to the Hoop at Kettering Fairmont.

The win over South came three days after Davis was held to a season-low 13 points but helped his team rally from a five-point halftime deficit to beat Hilliard Bradley 45-44 on Jan. 4 in The Challenge at Pickerington North.

Last season, the only time Davis was held below 16 points was in a 54-44 loss to Bradley at the same event.

Davis, who is Walnut Ridge's all-time leading scorer, scored 52 points against West and had 1,775 career points before Jan. 14. He hasn't been held under double digits since Feb. 6, 2018.

The Scots' only losses through 10 games were to Toledo Rogers (55-47 on Nov. 30) and Gahanna (53-50 on Dec. 21 at Capital). While Rogers won eight of its first nine games, the Lions are 13-0.

"Things have been going pretty well so far," Davis said. "We took two early losses, but I think we're putting things together. We're actually an older team and I think we'll be competing for the City championship and (the Division I) state championship."

While South won City titles in both 2017 and '19 and Beechcroft won the City title in 2018, Walnut Ridge is 0-5 in City championship games. The Scots lost all five of those games over a six-year span from 2011-16, the last of which came when Davis was in eighth grade.

After averaging 16.6 points as a freshman and 23.3 as a sophomore, Davis upped his average to 27 last season when Walnut Ridge went 19-5 but finished second in the City-South at 11-3.

Davis committed to Kent State in September. He will play for a coaching staff that includes Julian Sullinger, a 2004 Northland graduate.

Davis, who is considering studying physical therapy or fashion design in college, believes his versatility and ability to play multiple positions has helped him become one of the City's all-time most prolific scorers.

The last City player to score with more than 2,000 career points was 2016 Northland graduate Seth Towns with 2,018.

"He deserves everything he's getting right now because he works extremely hard," Jefferson said. "Our assistant coaches spend a lot of time helping him expand his game, helping him face up more. We want to make him the most complete basketball player that we can make him. Right now, he's shooting the basketball pretty well. He's handling the ball a little better. We want to make sure we let him know how important the little things are, like boxing out, rebounding and moving side-to-side defensively because at the next level, he's not going to be able to put everybody on the block."

Offense a strength for Beechcroft boys

The Beechcroft boys basketball team has proven to be one of the area's best offensive teams.

The Cougars were 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the City-North before playing Northland on Jan. 14. They lost to Linden-McKinley 68-66 on Jan. 10 and fell to DeSales 69-60 on Jan. 11.

Beechcroft lost to Mifflin 54-53 on Dec. 17 and fell to Gahanna 71-53 in its season opener Nov. 30, but the latter marked the highest point total the Lions had allowed during their 12-0 start.

The Cougars reached triple digits in three of their first six wins, including a 113-64 victory over Whetstone on Jan. 7 as sophomores J.J. Simmons had 27 points and Amani Lyles scored 24.

Lyles and Simmons both were averaging 20.7 and 19.4 points, respectively, through 10 games.

"(Lyles) was with us last year as a freshman and had a great offseason," coach Humphrey Simmons said. "It's been a combination of things that have gone well because we also take pride in our defense. On the offensive end, we've put up a lot 3-pointers."

Tough schedule preps Nubians girls

The Africentric girls basketball team is hoping a difficult non-league schedule early in the season will provide benefits down the line.

After having a 39-game winning streak snapped with a 66-59 loss to Chattanooga (Tennessee) Hamilton Heights Christian on Dec. 7, the Nubians beat Solon (79-58 on Dec. 21) and St. Bernard Roger Bacon (53-30 on Dec. 27) at events in Garfield Heights and Cincinnati Winton Woods, respectively.

The Nubians then lost to Detroit Edison 68-59 on Dec. 28 but bounced back to defeat Chicago Kenwood 46-43 on Jan. 4.

While Hamilton Heights Christian and Edison both are ranked in the top 25 in the nation by MaxPreps.com, Kenwood was 18-3 before playing Chicago Simeon on Jan. 15.

"We've faced some really good competition and had a lot of tough games this year," senior post player Sakima Walker said.

Walker was averaging 14.1 points and Africentric was 10-2 overall and 6-0 in the City-South after beating Briggs 110-7 on Jan. 10 and before playing Eastmoor on Jan. 14.

Senior guard Alexia Smith was averaging 11.8 points before Jan. 14, while senior guard Nyam Thornton, junior forward Maliyah Johnson and junior guards Charjae Brock, Anyiah Murphy and Lyric Ransom also have been key players.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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