The Douglas basketball program's philosophy has long been to find the toughest available opponents to fill its preseason schedule.
As such, the Tigers have faced off against multiple nationally-ranked powerhouses and dozens of elite blue-chip recruits over the last 10 years.
Thursday night was one such example as the Tigers fell 52-46 to Arizona power Mountain View and five-star junior center Payton Dastrup in the first round of the Wild West Shootout at Bishop Manogue High School.
"That's why we play in these types of tournaments, because we want to play tough teams," Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. "It's a great opportunity to get better and a an opportunity to get a win. But we believe you make the biggest improvements by playing really solid teams.
"We had a better overall effort tonight than we have had the past two games. We played as a team and it seemed like we played more aggressive both offensively and defensively."
The 6-9, 225-pound Dastrup, who has scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Florida, Oregon State, USC, Utah State and Virginia, scored 16 points in the win. He was matched up against 6-10 Douglas junior James Herrick, who defended him admirably.
"James did a great job with him all night," Thacker said. "Dastrup is a big kid and he has a soft touch around the rim. Both James and (Harvard-bound) Hunter (Myers) battled with him all night. The rest of the team did a good job with the help-side defense and we kept him in check for the most part."
Myers put up 21 points in the loss while senior guard Michael Nolting added 15.
"We actually got some points from attacking the basket, which we haven't been able to do as much as we'd like so far this year," Thacker said. "Michael was slashing to the rim and that's something we need."
The Tigers fell victim to some untimely lapses, though, with a stretch of four consecutive turnovers to start the fourth quarter.
"There were some things like that where we obviously still need some work," Thacker said. "There were some good things overall, but the turnovers just killed us. That's where we are, and we just have to keep moving forward."
Douglas gets a re-match with defending state champion Bishop Gorman at 7 p.m. Friday night at Manogue. Gorman knocked the Tigers out of the state playoffs in the semifinal round last February.
Coincidentally, the Douglas girls team will be hosting defending state champion Reed at the same time Friday night in Minden.