Olson, Knight head all-region honorees

When it came down to dominant centers during the 2005-06 basketball season, Douglas High School had the market cornered.

Keith Olson, Douglas 6-10 standout big man, and Monica Knight, the Lady Tigers' 6-1 offensive leader, each earned first-team All-Northern 4A distinction when the NIAA's postseason honors were announced late last week.

Olson put together a solid junior season in which he averaged 18.1 points per game, but made noticeable improvements on the defensive end and began playing the boards more with his positioning as opposed to his superior size.

His scoring average placed him among the top scorers in the Northern 4A, despite being double- and sometimes triple-teamed down low for most of the season.

Knight was a unanimous choice for first-team All-Sierra League after averaging 15.2 ppg, good enough for No. 2 in the Northern 4A behind North Valleys' Anita Burdick, who was named the region's co-player of the year.

For the second year in a row, the girls' coaches decided to take the first-teamers from the Sierra League and the High Desert League and call that the all-region team. As such, Knight was a first-team All-Northern 4A honoree as well.

"Monica was very tough in the middle for us this year and she was a pest on defense," Douglas coach Werner Christen said. "She did exactly what we needed her to do this year. She was pretty much our main weapon early in the year. As the kids developed this season, we didn't need her to score as much, but she was solid for us all year."

Christen himself was honored by the Sierra League coaches as the co-coach of the year along with Reno's Shane Foster.

"That just means I had a good team, we had good assistants," Christen said with a laugh. "That's kind of a funny award in that it really reflects what the team did this year. That's what that's all about. It's a credit to the kids.

"It's nice to be recognized by the coaches around the league, but I'd just chop that thing into four pieces - one for (Douglas assistants) Andy (Hughes), Todd (Ackerman) and Brittany (Christen)."

Christen is 143-87 over his eight seasons at the helm of the Lady Tiger basketball program and has not missed the playoffs in five years.

Douglas' Bridget Maestretti earned second-team all-league honors for her play at point guard this season.

"She had a really good year for us," Christen said. "She's a great kid and she has really committed to becoming a better all-around player."

Douglas' Nate Whalin and Mike Gransbery each earned all-league honorable mentions on the boys' side as well.

Hug's Armon Johnson and Galena's Luke Babbitt shared the regional player of the year honors for the boys and Galena's Tom Maurer and South Tahoe's Derek Allister shared the top coaching honors for the boys.

Galena's Caitlin Anderson and Caitlyn Crofts and Burdick shared regional player of the year honors on the girls' side and Christen, Foster and Galena's Karen Friel shared the top coaching honors.

-- Joey Crandall can be reached at jcrandall@recordcourier.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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