No team is going to complain about starting the season with a five-game win streak. Then again, the Douglas High girls basketball team was hardly ready to celebrate even after sweeping to four straight victories over the weekend at the High Sierra Winter Challenge.
Douglas knocked off four quality opponents representing three different states during the tournament, which is co-hosted by Spanish Springs and Reno high schools. The Tigers opened with a 45-33 win on Thursday against Palo Verde (Las Vegas), followed by a 52-27 victory on Friday against Heritage (Littleton, Colo.). They capped off the weekend with two more wins on Saturday, 48-24 against defending Nevada 1-A state champion Spring Creek and a 43-33 triumph against Union Mine (El Dorado, Calif.).
“We’re not into records right now, but we played well against some really good teams,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said. “The four teams we played were very good. We showed a lot of energy, but now we have to turn the page and get ready for a fantasic Reed team.”
The Tigers traveled to Sparks on Tuesday to face perennial power Reed (results were unavailable at press time). They play again on Dec. 20 at home against Sierra League rival Galena.
“We know it’s early in the season and that we have a long way to go,” Christen said. “We just want to take it one game at a time.”
Leonna Mortimore scored 57 points in four games to lead the Tigers offensively for the weekend. Mortimore’s featured performance came against Spring Creek, when she scored 22 points, and she is averaging 14 points through five games.
Jessie Jim turned in a strong all-around performance against Spring Creek that included 8 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds.
The Spring Creek game was significant since the Spartans had opened the tournament with a 50-49 win against Carson. Furthermore, the Tigers played most of that game without the services of sophomore point guard McKenna Kynett, who sustained a sprained ankle in the first two minutes.
Sophomore Maddy Lowe stepped into the point guard role effectively, Christen noted.
“We didn’t lose a step with Maddy out there,” he said. “She was steady, both on offense and defense.”
Douglas came back later on Saturday to defeat a Union Mine squad that was 20-8 with a playoff appearance last season. Mortimore scored 13 points, Jim 11 and . Katie McCullough 9 to lead the Tigers offensively.
Mortimore and Corryne Millett scored 12 points each to lead Douglas past Palo Verde, while Mortimore scored 10, McCullough 8 and Kynett 8 against Heritage. McCulloch also contributed 9 rebounds and 4 assists against Heritage.
Christen noted that the team showed some signs of fatigue after playing five games in four days. There was never any letup on the defensive effort, however, because the Tigers have only allowed an average of 27.4 points per game en route to their 5-0 start (which includes a 47-20 win over Spanish Springs on Wednesday).
“In particular, the last two games were a total team effort on our part,” Christen said. “The most important thing is we’re rebounding and defending well. One-and-done, that’s the way we have to play. We hold the other team to one shot, we get the rebound then kick the ball out and run. If we can do that, we’re a good team.”