YAKIMA, Wash. -- Even a coach who’s pretty much seen it all, as Eli Juarez has during a long and distinguished career, can sometimes run short on patience when young players play young.
But also there are other occasions when forbearance, persistence and the stars align, as they did Saturday night for the Davis Pirates.
“It’s a fun team to watch on nights like this,” Juarez said after his team’s 86-38 triumph over Eisenhower — the last crosstown rivalry game to be played in the existing Ike Gym.
It helps when shooters like sophomore Max Jones become white hot, as Jones did during a third quarter in which he canned four consecutive 3-pointers and scored 16 of his game-high 26 points.
It helps when a point guard like sophomore Nikhil Lizotte runs the show effectively while also scoring 25 points.
And it really helps when the team’s lone senior starter, Carlos Vijarro, produces yet another double double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.
That would be how many double doubles this season, Carlos?
“I have no idea,” he said. “I never keep track of that stuff.”
But of course he and the rest of the Pirates are keeping track of their season, which has seen them win seven straight games and, at 9-3, maintain second place in the CBBN. Should Davis (10-7 overall with three games remaining), finish either second or first, it will host a first-round district game.
“We’re way better than we were, say, back in December,” Vijarro said. “I wouldn’t say we’re getting as good as last year (when Vijarro was a key reserve on the Class 4A state champions), but we’re definitely improving.”
Jones, for example, had scored 25 points in a Friday night win over Sunnyside. Against Ike, which battled from a 24-7 deficit to within 31-20 at halftime, his aforementioned hot streak helped Davis to a 61-29 lead late in the third quarter.
The Pirates scored 55 points during the second half.
Ike, which has no seniors, got 14 points from Andy Soto, a 6-foot-4 junior who spent much of the evening at point guard. Another junior guard, CJ Adams, added 10 points.
But the Cadets shot only 28 percent and turned the ball over 34 times, and many of their miscues became fastbreak layups for the Pirates or open 3-pointers.
Ike (0-12, 0-17) played hard throughout, though, and coach Colton Monti has said, “I’d rather go 0-20 the right way than 4-16 the wrong way.”
Davis swept all three games this season against Ike and has won its last eight meetings with the Cadets, who are spending their last season in the original high school and gym, which opened in 1956.
DAVIS — Nikhil Lizotte 25, Max Jones 26, Hernandez-Briscoe 0, Navarro 4, Carlos Vijarro 17, Alcazar 0, Gill 1, Nickens 4. Totals 30-65 17-22 86.
EISENHOWER — CJ Adams 10, Gefre 3, Hinman 1, Stebbins 3, Olivera 2, Tafoya 0, Gomez 1, Harris 4, Cleverly 0, Andy Soto 14. Totals 14-49 5-8 38.
Davis 17 14 30 25 — 86
Eisenhower 4 16 12 6 — 38
Shooting percentages — FG: Dav .462, Ike .286; FT — Dav .773, Ike 625. 3-point goals — Dav 9-19 (Lizotte 2-5, Jones 6-10, Gasseling 1-2, Vijarro 0-1, Gill 0-1); Ike 5-15 (Adams 2-4, Tafoya 0-1, Gefre 1-1, Hinman 1-2, Gomez 1-2, Soto 3-4). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Dav 44 (Vijarro 10); Ike 28 (Gomez 7). Turnovers — Dav 15, Ike 34. Total fouls — Dav 13, Ike 19.