Owen Davis doesn't mind getting dunked on.
That may seem strange, but it happens sometimes during the Brainerd Warriors boys basketball practices. It's just one example of how athletic this year's team is.
Davis is one of the catalysts for the high-flying, high-scoring, entertaining brand of basketball being played at Brainerd High School.
During a 67-58 Central Lakes Conference victory over Fergus Falls Jan. 24, Davis dropped 30 points on the Otters.
"It was just kind of all over the place," Davis said. "I was hitting shots and getting into the rim, too."
Davis was 12-of-21 from the field, including 3-of-7 from 3-point. He added five rebounds, five steals and two assists.
"For the majority of the game, they were playing a zone on us and he was able to just get free in the high post on the free throw line," Warrior head coach Charlie Schoeck said. "That's kind of how he got rolling. He was hitting a bunch of mid-range jumpers. He was also able to knock down a bunch of 3s in that game. He was pretty efficient in that game. He's been shooting a lot better from the outside.
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- Sport: Basketball
- Position: Forward
- Year: Junior
- Age: 17
- Height: 6-foot-6
- Career highlight: Scoring a long touchdown during homecoming
- Other sports: Football
- Grade-point average: 4.2
- Favorite class: Strength and conditioning with Ellen Fussy
- Favorite food: Rafferty's Pizza
- Favorite movie: "Remember the Titans"
- Favorite app: Snapchat, Instagram
- Favorite restaurant: Rafferty's
- Future plans: Go to college, play basketball
- Favorite athlete: Luka Doncic
- Parents: Jody and Greg Davis
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"If he can do that and pull big guys out to the perimeter and they have to guard him all the way to the 3-point line, that's pretty dangerous."
In a 58-43 road loss to Duluth East Jan. 22, Davis led the Warriors with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He was 4-of-6 from the 3-point and added three rebounds and an assist.
"Because of our balance we're getting a lot more open looks," Davis said. "We have lots of people who can attack the hoop and kick out for shots. We have lots of guys who can knock down 3s. That's great. We got players all over the floor."
He finished with 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in a 61-57 victory over New Prague Jan. 19.
"I knew we were going to have a lot more fun and more energy and that helped to get into the season," Davis said. "We've been playing better together and working harder.
"There is lots of athleticism, even on the junior varsity, we have a lot of guys who can throw it down. We have tons of dunks throughout the whole practice. I've been dunked on a few times by Manni (Ukutegbe) and Jonah (Macejkovic)."
Davis' favorite dunk came during a 75-48 CLC blowout of Sauk Rapids on Jan. 18. It was his first dunk in the game, a fastbreak, sprinting, two-handed slam. Davis finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots, and an assist.
"I think a lot of these guys are having more fun this year and obviously when you're winning some games you're going to have a lot more fun," Schoeck said. "In practice, we basically have two goals and that is to improve and get better than you were the day before and the other is to have fun.
"In practice, we're doing a lot of competing against each other and keeping score during drills, which keeps it competitive and keeps it fun."
Davis said he's become more of a playmaker on the court. His goal for each game is to start strong and finish the same way. One key for that has been improved shooting. The three-year varsity player is shooting 46 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point. He's averaging 12.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks a game.
"I had to get my shot better for sure," Davis said. "I knew that. I've had to work on that a lot over the years and just my strength, too. I had to get that up for sure.
"During the basketball season, that's the hardest. During football, you can bulk up, but basketball is hard. You have to take in a lot of calories. You have to keep lifting when there are three games a week."
Brainerd has won three of its last four and five of its last seven after starting the season 0-3. The Warriors are sitting 9-7 overall, 2-3 in the section and 6-3 in the conference. But the key, said Davis, is the road. Brainerd is 6-1 at home, but just 3-5 away from Brainerd.
"I feel we just have to play a lot better on the road for sure," Davis said. "Our home games aren't really our problem right now. We get the momentum at our home turf. Away, we need to start playing better and building our confidence." Last season, as a sophomore, Davis averaged 3.9 points and 1.7 rebounds. He shot 48 percent from the field, but just 28 percent from 3-point.
"He absolutely has met my expectations and I did expect a lot from him," Schoeck said. "Going through the summer and playing in some of these tournaments you see glimpses of just how dangerous he can be when he's hitting shots from outside and finishing at the rim, above the rim and above defenders. Defensively, he's just so long that he can contest shots and he moves like a guard so there is a lot of potential there. We were expecting a lot and he's definitely delivering."
Other notable performances
• Lilly Horn, girls basketball, finished with 19 points against St. Cloud Apollo.
• Mason Kruse, boys hockey, netted two goals against Sartell and another goal against St. Cloud.
• Luke Saiko, boys hockey, finished with 22 saves in a 4-1 win over St. Cloud.