For the Douglas High girls basketball team, it was almost like a rerun of the regional tournament opener against Reed back in February — with one major exception. This time the Tigers got over the top in their comeback bid and then held on for a 58-53 victory against Reed in Sparks.
By winning the Northern Division I cross-over game at Paul Kautz Gym, Douglas improved its perfect season record to 6-0 — 2-0 in the Sierra League standings — and provided a measure of redemption for a 47-43 loss to Reed in the first round of the playoffs last season. The rematch followed a similar pattern as Reed led 20-12 after one quarter and extended its lead to 13 points in the second quarter.
Douglas rallied to cut the deficit to 34-30 at halftime, then rode a third-quarter surge to take a lead they never relinquished. The Tigers led 48-42 at the end of three quarters and extended their advantage to 11 points early in the fourth period.
“This was one of those team wins,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said. “We played nine and they all contributed ... everyone played their role. And they did a lot of little things right, which is something we’re really preaching right now.”
Leonna Mortimer scored 22 points for Douglas to hold her own in an inside battle against Reed’s 6-foot-1 Nakiyah LeSure, who finished with a game-high 28 points.
“They had a real battle in there,” Christen said of the opposing post players. “Morti (Mortimer) has been a pleasant surprise so far. She is tough to guard just because she’s so aggressive. And she can get better.”
Mortimer, a 5-8 junior, is averaging 15.3 points through six games so far this season.
Corryne Millett also scored 17 points, including a steal and free throw that extended the Tigers’ lead to 57-53 in the final 30 seconds. The junior played a key role on defense, according to Christen.
“Corryne was amazing,” the coach said. “She had six steals and probably caused nine or 10 more (turnovers).”
Other players contributed to the winning effort. Jessie Jim knocked down a key 3-pointer for the Tigers during their third quarter run and finished the game with 11 points. Kelly Sonnemann was solid in her role at point guard in place of McKenna Kynett, who missed the game due to an ankle injury. Kassidy Freitas also was important in her defense against Reed standout Tyler Sumpter, who scored 16 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. And Katie McCullough dished out six assists on the night.
“Katie was like a point/post for us,” Christen said of McCullough, a 5-10 senior. “She did a really good job of distributing the ball.”
Reed was without star Gabby Williams, a UConn commit, who is still rehabbing from an ACL injury she sustained late in the 2012-13 season. Winning at Reed was still a significant accomplishment for the Tigers.
“Reed is a very, very talented team,” Christen said. “They were happy (to win), but there was no big celebration or anything like that ... they expected to win. I mean, these kids are playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
The Douglas girls now have a week off before they host Sierra League rival Galena next Friday.