Coach Werner Christen wrote a simple message on the board on Wednesday night before sending his Douglas High girls basketball team out for its season-opening game against Spanish Springs.
“One shot.” That is, the objective was to limit Spanish Springs to one shot at the basket each time down the floor.
The Tigers accomplished their goal and then some, as they dominated on the defensive end en route to a 47-20 victory at Randy Green Court.
“We told the kids before the game that if we could hold Spanish Springs to one shot, we would be in great shape … and they only had four offensive rebounds,” Christen said. “It’s the little things that win games, like blocking out and calling out shots. If we get the rebounds, we can run, and if we can run, we’re a good team.”
An 11-0 run bridging the first and second quarters put the Tigers in control in the matchup between teams that both advanced to the playoffs last season.
Jessie Jim scored a game-high 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Leonna Mortimore scored 13 to lead Douglas offensively. Katie McCullough, who celebrated her 18th birthday the day before, and Maddy Lowe scored 7 points each for the Tigers. McCullough also grabbed 13 rebounds.
“That’s what you can call a team win,” Christen said. “All 12 of those girls contributed tonight.”
The Tigers began their game-breaking run when Mortimore sank the second of two free throws with 29.7 seconds left in the first period for an 8-6 lead. Jim laid a left-handed shot off the glass to open the second period, Mortimore followed with a layup, assisted by Lowe, then Mortimore fed Lowe for a baseline jumper to extend the lead to 14-6. Mortimore scored on a follow shot and McCullough scored off an assist from Lowe to make it 18-6 with 5:10 left in the second quarter. Douglas led 25-10 at halftime.
The Tigers’ defensive effort started with an effective press that pressured the ball all over the court.
“We mixed up our looks and I thought the girls did a good job of keeping them off balance,” Christen said.
Hannah Woytek scored 11 points to lead Spanish Springs.
“Woytek is a very good player,” Christen said. “Anytime you hold her to 11 points, you’ve done a good job.”
This was just the start of a busy week for the Douglas girls, who play four games in three days at the High Sierra Winter Challenge.
The Tigers face Palo Verde on Thursday in a 6 p.m. contest at Spanish Springs High. They come back on Friday to face Heritage in a 6 p.m. game at Reno High, then close out the weekend with two games on Saturday, as they play Spring Creek at noon and then Union Mine at 4:30 p.m.