R-C Sports Notebook: Midseason reports

With half of the season already in the books, it would appear that the big three winter sports at Douglas are well-prepared for the thick of league action.

The boys' basketball team has been the most tested squad of the three so far, facing two nationally-ranked opponents and a Southern California sectional powerhouse in its 15-game non-league slate.

The wrestling team overcame two early hiccups against Carson in the first week of the season and has been extremely solid ever since.

The Tigers were hurt early on as several wrestlers were still trying to meet the NIAA's hydration requirements and several were battling injuries, but in the last several weeks Douglas got 160-pound standout Jake Williams back from a shoulder injury and returned several other wrestlers to its lineup, making the Tigers one of the four or five schools that will be in the mix for the regional title.

Douglas has been strong in the dual-match format so far, going 12-2 with the both losses coming to Carson in the first week of the season. The Tigers also thumped Fallon, currently ranked No. 1 in the region, and topped No. 4 Damonte Ranch. They also won the Natumas Nighthawk Dual tournament.

The big question that still remains for the Tigers is how they will fare in the playoffs, given the indivudal bracket format.

Douglas was the top scoring Nevada team at the Lowry Invitational, taking third behind Burns, Ore. and Nampa, Idaho. Last week, they struggled slightly in the high-powered Sierra Nevada Classic, taking 48th as a team out of 89 schools.

The girls' basketball team, which has only two seniors on its roster, has gone out on the road for the bulk of the first month, playing all but two of its first 16 games at someone else's gym.

Nevertheless, Douglas put together a 6-10 record while facing seven teams currently ranked in the Sierra Nevada Sports Media Top 10.

Sophomore post player Jessica Waggoner has emerged as a leader so far, averaging 10.5 points per game.

Douglas' defense has been solid so far, allowing about 44 points per contest against some of the top offenses in the Northern region.

Look for the Tigers' guards to continue to improve with a number of growing threats stepping up in recent weeks. As the season progresses, this unit may end up as one of the top backcourts collectively in the North.

The frontcourt will also get a boost when senior Dana Pardee comes back from a leg injury.

On the boys' side, Douglas has shown exceptional depth all the way down the bench and is within one game of matching the final win total from all but one of the last six seasons.

Senior standout Keith Olson is averaging 18.1 points per game and point guard Mike Gransbery has been turning in about 14 points every time out with an average of 2.4 3-pointers.

Jeff Nady is averaging seven points a game and has been a force defensively and under the boards and sophomore James McLaughlin averages 6.8 points per game.

The story of this season may end up being the middle of the Tigers' lineup. There simply isn't a lot of drop-off when the starters leave the floor this season.

Joe Nady has proven to be a suitable sub for Olson, as well as a dual threat when the two are on the floor together. He is averaging six points per contest and can hit an occasional shot from the outside.

Grinders Kevin Emm, David Laird and Nate Whalin are averaging only a handful of points per game but have been invaluable when it comes to their contributions away from the ball.

Whalin has established himself as one of the team's top defenders and Emm can fill in at several positions on the floor. Laird is tied with Gransbery for the team lead in free throw percentage and is one of the team's hardest workers.

Jared Trowbridge runs an efficient point in place of Gransbery and has exceptional vision of the floor. He rarely looks to shoot but has a knack for drawing fouls late in the game.

Reserves Brandon Bernard, Ryan McPeek and Ross Bertolone have all seen a good amount of playing time and give the Tigers added depth in tight games.

Douglas has been slower in the first half as a rule, but has made a habit of making the halftime adjustments and pulling away in the second.

The Tigers are outscoring their opponents by an average of 35 to 29 in the second half and 19.1 to 15.1 in the fourth quarter.

With the increased depth, Douglas still competes without Olson on the floor and can then bring him back in late in the game to be the back-breaker, so to speak.

Another note has been Douglas' improved defense this season, particularly around the perimeter. The Tigers have given up 51 3-pointers (an average of 3.4 a game) and a good bulk of those came against national No. 10 Arlington Country Day (6) and North Bakersfield (9).

Douglas was supposed to host Wooster Friday night (Jan. 5) but that game has been rescheduled. The Tigers next play at North Valleys at 7 p.m. Jan. 9. The girls' tip off at 5:15 p.m.

Joe Nady, sr., boys' basketball and Jake Williams, sr., wrestling. Nady had big games in the Tigers' final two wins at the Clovis tournament, scoring 12 and 14 points in the wins respectively.

Williams had the best showing for the Tiger grapplers, advancing to the semifinals of the 160-pound weight class in the Sierra Nevada Classic last week.

Others considered this week were Keith Olson (basketball); Mike Gransbery (basketball), Jessica Waggoner (basketball); Ryan Pruitt (wrestling) and Sean Molina (wrestling).


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