Two games on opposite ends of the season served as appropriate microcosms of the Douglas girls basketball team's year.
The Lady Tigers opened the year at Spanish Springs, struggled to find a rhythm out of the gate, made a big comeback, fell victim to stretches of inexperience and still managed to close strong.
It the same storyline that played out numerous times throughout the season.
It was the same storyline that played out in the first round of the playoffs as Douglas roared back from a big halftime deficit to take the defending state champion Reed Raiders to overtime.
That game, too, served as a microcosm of the season, but this time more because of what happened off the floor. It was the other storyline that defined the season -- a young team finding its way while battling through multiple trials by fire, led by a steady core of seniors.
"That was the story with this group," Douglas coach Werner Christen said. "They just did not know how to panic.
"I think of that last game, and I see Desiree (Cage) who was sick and just couldn't play much that night, but she's there making sure everyone on the bench had water," Christen said. "That was just one example of how unselfish this group was.
"All of our young kids got battle-tested this year, and they had our seniors -- Diana (Regalado), Ericka Munoz and Desiree -- that just had so much patience with them. The calming effect they gave the kids on the floor -- it carried over into everything we were able to do."
Christen spoke glowingly of the team's overall chemistry from the very start, and didn't back off with the season over.
"This was just an amazing group," he said. "There were just a great group of kids to deal with. They were a dream team. We finished third in the conference and a couple games under .500 overall, but you have to throw some of those things out the window when it is a group like this.
"This was my most enjoyable group since the (Northern 4A Regional Champion) 2002 squad."
On top of that, Douglas has a battle-tested core coming back for next season.
"There were times where we looked really, really good this year and there were times where we reverted back to baby steps," Christen said. "That was to be expected though. We had three kids who 12 months ago were playing middle school basketball.
"That's quite a leap. They took their lumps, though, and they came out of it better. I'm very excited about what this group can do in the years to come."
Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.
Finish: Northern 4A Regional Quarterfinalist. Sierra League third place.
Record: 13-16 overall, 8-8 Sierra League, 5-3 home, 4-6 away, 4-7 neutral, 12-11 vs. Northern Nevada teams.
MVP: Diana Regalado, sr., F. Regalado was the build-around player for the youngest group ever to take the floor for the Tiger varsity squad. She consistently led the team in scoring but was lauded by coaches for her ability to bring along the younger players.
Gamebreaker: McKenna Kynett, fr., G. About those younger players, Kynett established herself as one of the top players in the region going forward. Her athletic ability was already among the elite in Northern Nevada coming in. Her ability to see the floor and understand the flow of the game only improved as the season progressed.
Unsung hero: Katie McCullough, jr., F. McCullough consistently sparked the team off the bench, often coming in and forcing a turnover, grabbing a big rebound or providing a quick basket. She'll likely step into Regalado's leadership role next season.
Most Improved: Corryne Millett, soph., G/F. Millett went from a more reserved role as a freshman to an every-day starter as a sophomore. Her size and athleticism allows her to transition easily from the inside to the outside on both ends of the floor. She and Kynett also tied for the team lead in 3-pointers.
Best game: Reed 47, Douglas 43, OT, Feb. 13 at Reed. There were plenty of nice wins for the Tigers this season, but taking the defending state champs to overtime in the first round of the playoffs deserves a mention. The way in which the Lady Tigers did it made it the best game of the year. Douglas came back from a 22-5 halftime deficit to force the extra period, thanks in large part to a suffocating defensive effort.
Starters lost: 3
Returners: 2 starters, 10 lettermen