At the pace both teams were keeping in the first half, it was a fair bet that both the North Valleys and Douglas boys' basketball teams would finished in triple figures.
The Tigers, however, found a way to slow the pace down and overcame a 48-45 halftime deficit to pick up a 91-73 win in Minden Tuesday night.
North Valleys hit eight 3-pointers in the first half, but the Tigers clamped down on the perimeter defense, which seemingly extends to halfcourt for in North Valleys' language, and allowed only eight field goals and no 3-pointers in the second.
"They're a squad where if they get the chance to size it up, they'll stroke it," Douglas coach Rob Streeter said. "We picked up our ball pressure and got better. I was very impressed with how we came out defensively in the second half.
"We went six minutes in that third quarter where we gave up four points. That was big for us."
Douglas' Nate Whalin, who has often handled the opposing playmaker this season, drew the primary assignment on Archie Kovich, who is averaging 31 points a game for the Panthers.
Kovich had 16 points in the first half, including four 3-pointers, but was held to just eight in the second and two points and no field goals in the fourth quarter.
"Nate took it as a personal challenge at halftime and really got after Archie in the second," Streeter said.
Whalin said it was just a matter of wearing the Panthers down.
"We were lethargic in the first half," Whalin said. "We never thought we were out of the game, but we knew we had to step up.
"Most guys in the league, when they try to guard guys like Archie or (Hug's) Armon (Johnson), they sag off a bit and let them do what they want to do.
"I just went about trying to get on him and keep that intensity on him to tire him out."
Douglas was also hurt early on by Craig Davidson, who scored 13 points and three 3-pointers in the first half. The Tigers managed to hold Davidson without any points for the rest of the game.
Not to say that Douglas was overwhelmed offensively by any means.
Keith Olson scored 32 points to pace the Tigers and had seven points in a 15-4 run to open the second half that ultimately proved to be the decisive stretch in the ball game.
Olson started the run hammering home a two-handed dunk to open the half. Kevin Emm stole a pass to Kovich on the next possession and raced to the basket, scoring the layup and drawing a foul, which he'd later convert for a three-point play.
"Keith was the man to start the second half," Streeter said. "They don't have an answer for him and our guys did a great job of finding him.
"We executed a nice little set to start there and he had the nice flush."
"That was real big, for us to go out and execute our opening possession," Olson said. "In the first half, our main gameplan was just to slow them down, and it wasn't really working the way we planned it. We picked up our defense and executed that play and we were fine."
The big run carried the Tigers through the third quarter, but North Valleys was able to close back to within five late in the quarter with an 8-3 run.
The schools traded baskets to open the fourth and Douglas worked back out in front by 10 with an Olson basket, two Emm free throws and a free throw from Whalin.
The Panthers answered with a 5-0 run of their own, but then Douglas began what would finish as a 17-4 to close out the game, including a back-breaking 12-0 through the two-minute mark.
Mike Gransbery finished with 15 points and three 3-pointers for Douglas, Jeff Nady had 13, Kevin had 12, Joe Nady finished with seven, James McLaughlin had five, Whalin had three and David Laird and Brandon Bernard each finished with two.
Douglas (18-6, 8-1) next travels to South Tahoe Friday night and comes back home to host Hug Saturday.
The Lady Tigers used their distinct height advantage to their advantage, scoring a 55-27 win over North Valleys Tuesday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Bridget Maestretti led the team with 13 points and three 3-pointers and post players Dana Pardee and Jessica Waggoner scored 12 and 10 points respectively.
Taryn Williams finished with six and Katie Buffo, Dany Heidt and Gina Pfaffenberger each had four for Douglas (10-14, 4-5).
The Tigers built a 26-16 lead through the first half and turned in perhaps their best quarter of the whole season in the third, outscoring the Panthers 20-6 while going on a 13-0 run to close the quarter.
Defensively, Douglas held the Panthers to single-figure scoring in each quarter and gave up only nine field goals for the game.
n Joey Crandall can be reached at email@example.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.