DUNWOODY — When the final buzzer sounded in the Dunwoody High School gym Friday night, it signaled the end of an era for Red Elephant basketball and the beginning of retirement for longtime coach Jerry Davis.
In front of a standing-room only home crowd, basketball powerhouse Dunwoody overpowered Gainesville 84-49 in the opening round of the Class AAA state tournament
"I wish we could have ended on a better note, but we ran into a very good and talented basketball team," Davis said.
"They outplayed us."
Davis ends his 28-year coaching career with 704 wins, two state championships and 24 subregion and region titles. His massive win total is the second most among the Peach State’s active coaches.
"It has been a great ride," Davis said. "I have had the opportunity to work with some great people, great players and great assistant coaches. It has been fun."
Behind the play of junior point guard Issiah Grayson and a tenacious full-court press, Dunwoody took the game over midway through the first quarter. Grayson scored 10 points in the quarter on his way to a game-high 21 points.
At the end of the first, third-ranked Dunwoody had a 18-7 lead and by the half the Red Elephants were in a 39-14 hole.
The second half was much of the same, and in the fourth quarter Dunwoody’s starters enjoyed the view from the bench.
Including Grayson, four Dunwoody players scored in double-figures. Florida State-bound Pierre Jordan and Chris Singleton scored 14 and 11 points, while LSU commitment Delwan Graham had 17.
The Wildcats, who have won their last 16 games and have not lost in 2008, will play on its home court Tuesday against Franklin County, which defeated Carrollton on Friday.
Senior forward Allan Dockery had a team-high 12 points for Gainesville. The Red Elephants close out with a 15-14 record.
Even against talented Dunwoody, Gainesville players desired that Davis end on a higher note than a blowout loss.
"I really wanted to send him out better than this. I am sorry about this," said senior forward Gerald Ford. "He teaches us life lessons. That is why he is going to be so hard to replace. As you can see 704 wins, you can’t beat that.
" He is one of a kind."
Davis certainly did not ease into retirement. At times he paced the sidelines and screamed out plays. In the huddle, he chatted with his players and he was still giving them advice even as they were leaving the locker room after the game.
"Coach Davis is a legend and it is a heck of an accomplishment to win 700 games," said Dunwoody coach Scott Bracco." He is great coach and he has a great team."
The 63-year-old Davis might be done coaching, but he still be around Gainesville High School till the end of the school year teaching driver education.