A.J. goes out with hot hand
February 25, 2014
Even though the scoreboard numbers revealed an unfavorable result, one thing could be said for A.J. Pfaffenberger and the Douglas High boys basketball last Wednesday night in Sparks.
The Tigers (13-11 overall, 9-7 Sierra League) left everything they had out on the floor in a 60-57 loss to the Reed Raiders in first-round play of the Division I Northern Region Tournament.
“We were all hustling, doing everything we could,” Pfaffenberger said. “No regrets about that one. They just hit a couple more shots than we did.”
The 5-foot-10 senior guard scored a career-high 28 points at Reed’s Paul Kautz Gym and the Tigers shot 9-for-17 (53 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc, including six of their first seven attempts. They led through most of three quarters before the Raiders surged into the lead at the outset of the fourth and then held on for the win.
Pfaffenberger shot 5-for-7 on his 3-point attempts, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near NBA range that gave Douglas a 34-32 lead at halftime.
“That was one crazy game,” Pfaffenberger said. “Anything over 40 percent (on 3-pointers), you really have to be happy with that.
“We were hitting our shots and I was able to be at the right place at the right time a lot. Give my teammates credit, they found me throughout the game.”
The Tigers simply came up short against the High Desert League’s regular season champion Raiders, who were knocked out of the tournament themselves two nights later with a 67-62 loss against Reno.
“Reed is a heckuva team with some great players,” Pfaffenberger said. “They’re very athletic. I’m actually surprised they didn’t go any further in the playoffs.”
Another surprise in Friday’s region tournament semifinals came when Spanish Springs literally shot down Sierra League champion Galena. The Cougars shot 13-for-16 from 3-point range in their 68-36 rout of the Grizzlies.
“I followed that game on Twitter,” Pfaffenberger said. “I was so surprised because Galena was my prediction to win the zone championship. But Spanish Springs shot the lights out. They really took the moment, I mean, 13-for-16, that’s insane!”
The Tigers had a good season, Pfaffenberger added. Looking at the 11 losses overall, five were decided by three points or less.
“We had a very good season all-around,” Pfaffenberger said. “It just ended way too early. I just wish it would have lasted a game or two longer.”
Two more games would have given the Tigers a berth in the NIAA Division I State Tournament this week in Reno. The tournament — featuring two teams from the North and two from the South — begins tonight at Lawlor Events Center.
“We had a ton of potential with our team,” Pfaffenberger said. “We just weren’t able to put the pieces together at the right time.”