Much attention has been given to Douglas High School's big men, 6-7 forward Hunter Myers and 6-10 center James Herrick, heading into the basketball season.
The same was true Tuesday night at Spanish Springs, as the Cougars' defense centered largely around throwing a variety of double-teams at the Tiger frontcourt.
That left plenty of open looks outside as Douglas knocked down nine 3-pointers en route to a 65-57 win over Spanish Springs in the season-opener for both teams.
The outside shooting accounted for 42 percent of the Tigers' scoring in the game.
"We know that teams are going to be doubling our bigs this year, so we kept telling the guys if you trust the bigs to hold down that defense, you'll get some outside looks," Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. "We have better shooters this year than we have had in the past."
Indeed, Spanish Springs held Myers to just three field goals (he finished with a team-leading 14 points, though, due to an 8-of-9 performance from the free throw line) and Herrick to just two points. That opened up the wings for Austin Evans (13 points, four 3-pointers) and Pat Johnson (11 points, 3 3-pointers). Jaden Wass and Joe Syammach (nine points) each added a 3-pointer as well.
Douglas exhibited some season-opening jitters, turning the ball over 24 times (18 through the second and third quarters).
"We have to take better care of the ball," Thacker said. "That was pretty crazy. There were some nerves involved with seven guys playing their first varsity game. It's going to be a process of getting on the same page.
"Defensively, we gave up 57, which is above what we want. But we're on the road in a tough gym against a good team. Spanish Springs is a great team. They play hard and they'll be right up there at the end. But the defense is definitely something we can work on."
Douglas led virtually throughout the game, stretching out a 17-point gap early in the second half.
The Cougars scraped away at the lead, though, and managed to narrow it down to 56-64 with 3:04 remaining in the game.
Myers knocked down a pair of free throws and Johnson hit a big 3-pointer with 1:41 left. Myers then sealed the win, hitting 4-of-4 free throws down the stretch. He also had 15 rebounds in the game and a number of blocked shots.
Jaden Mustacchio had seven points, AJ Pfaffenberger had three, Sam Broersma had two and Michael Nolting had one.
Douglas next hosts Reed Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
Sporting a starting lineup almost entirely new to varsity basketball, the Douglas High girls basketball team hung with a veteran Spanish Springs squad Tuesday night, falling 46-36.
"We didn't know what to expect coming in," Douglas coach Werner Christen said. "We've had some good practices, and we've made some mistakes in practice. But the thing we like about this group is when they make mistakes, you only have to tell them once to fix it.
"Spanish Springs is a veteran group and we hung in there against them."
The Cougars led 15-13 through the first quarter but Douglas came back to tie it at 19 heading into halftime.
Spanish Springs leaned heavily on its full-court defense in the third and etched out a narrow 32-29 lead before pulling away late in the game.
Douglas got 14 points out of Diana Regalado, 10 from freshman McKenna Kynett, five from Kelly Sonnemann, four from Corryne Millett, two from Katie McCullough and one from Kassidy Freitas.
Douglas heads to the Winnemucca tournament to close out this week.