Douglas girls rally for key win against North Valleys

MINDEN - Trailing by five late in the first half with North Valleys' standout post player Anita Burdick basically having her way underneath the boards with 13 points, it just didn't look like it would be a good night for the Douglas High girls basketball team.


North Valleys had registered 10 offensive rebounds and the Tigers were struggling to find a rhythm in the game. But Tigers have not been out of a game this entire season, and Friday night was not going to be the first one they let slide away.


Tammy Gough hit a 3-pointer with under a minute left in the first half and Erin Brinkmeyer drew a foul while hitting her first field goal in nearly six quarters to knot the game up at 25 with 23 seconds left.


Brinkmeyer sank the free throw, giving the Lady Tigers their first lead of the night, and one that they would not relinquish, as Douglas powered to a 61-55 Sierra League victory over the Panthers.


Douglas clamped down on Burdick in the second half and held sharp-shooting outside threat Robin Swain at bay.


"Erin wanted the responsibility of guarding Swain tonight," Douglas coach Werner Christen said. "She's one of the most dangerous players in the league and both Erin and Jessie did a remarkable job of staying on her tonight.


"North Valleys has a lot of unique weapons, and we decided to play straight-up man-on-man on them tonight. We struggled a little bit early on, but for the most part it was really effective. Brittany Puzey did a great job in the monster position on our press and it really helped the defense to create our offense tonight."


Douglas got significant scoring from eight players Friday night, led by Gough with 14 points. Brinkmeyer put up 12 points, Monica Knight added 10 and Puzey put up nine.


"Tammy and Jessie really stepped up big for us tonight," Christen said. "Erin got in foul trouble early and couldn't really get into the flow of the game, but Jessie gave us some great minutes. Monica Knight had her best game of the year."


Knight, along with Felicia Imelli and Autumn Burtt, was instrumental in defending Burdick.


"I'm glad she's on our side," Christen said of Knight. "(Douglas assistant) Coach Rosie Contri has been spending a lot of time working with her on that elbow shot, and it is really starting to pay off. She really rose to the challenge defensively as well."


After Brinkmeyer's 3-point play to close the half gave Douglas a one-point lead, the Tigers wasted little time extending it once the third quarter started.


Puzey opened things up with a layup, followed by a Bridget Maestretti basket after a Panther turnover. Kizer put up another two and Knight answered a Burdick basket with one of her own.


Catrina Cherry hit a free throw for North Valleys on the following possession, but Kellei Kizer answered with a 3-pointer to complete a 11-3 run for the Tigers.


"We reminded them the things we told them heading into the game," Christen said of the locker room session at halftime. "Little things, like boxing out.


"We made a couple of adjustments and moved on."


Gough added a three-pointer of her own and Knight scored again, taking Douglas to a 42-33 lead before Swain hit 3-pointers on two consecutive trips down the floor for the Panthers.


"We slipped back into our zone, and they were able to go on a bit of a run on us," Christen said.


Douglas closed out the game on free throws, improving to 17-4 overall and 5-0 in league coming into a showdown for first-place in the league at Reno High at 3:15 p.m. today.

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