Davis forward Elijah Kletzli rose high into the air and snagged the lob early in the fourth quarter. He threw down the ball with force on his way down, again igniting the Darts’ vocal cheering section.
The Darts’ lead was insurmountable at that point, so the points were irrelevant. But the message the dunk sent was unmistakable, especially considering it followed a missed slam on the other end of the floor that likely represented Herriman’s last chance to make a late run.
Davis 67, Herriman 37
» Elijah Kletzli’s double-double — 20 points and 11 boards — leads Davis to the first-round blowout
» The Darts hold Herriman star David Maynard to just 11 points and the Mustangs to 21.3 percent shooting overall
No. 1-seeded Davis is taking nothing for granted.
The Darts dismantled No. 4-seed Herriman 67-37 on Tuesday at the Huntsman Center in the opening round of the Class 5A state tournament.
"We knew that we had to come out and play," Kletzli said. "I mean, it’s the tournament. Anyone can get upset. Anyone can lose. You’ve got to be ready every single game and make sure you take care of business."
Of course, being ready to play every game is easier said than done. But the Darts believe they have that special ingredient that may make such a task possible — a roster loaded with players who shine when it matters.
"Any night, someone can be having a bad night and someone else will pick up the slack, both defensively and offensively," Kletzli said. "We’ve had different rebounding leaders, even from the guard line or down low. Someone will always be able to pick us up."
The Darts proved Tuesday that they have several players capable of shouldering the load. When asked about Kletzli after the game, Welk took the opportunity to also speak about the contributions of those players.
There were star guards Jesse Wade and Abel Porter, who finished with 16 and 8 points, respectively. And there was Matt Morrell, who finished three rebounds shy of a double-double.
And there also was Kletzli, who has come out of nowhere to complement the play of the back court, which was expected before the season to be exceptional. The senior big man finished with a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds.
"Elijah just needs to believe in Elijah. When he does that, he’s really good," Welk said. "He’s really skilled. What he’s doing might be a surprise to everybody else. It’s not a surprise to his teammates or coaching staff at all."
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