It would've been easy for the Douglas High girls' basketball team to overlook South Tahoe on Wednesday night. After all, the Tigers have a date with first-place Reno on Friday night.
And with a win over the Vikings, that Friday night game between the Tigers and Huskies would be for the Sierra League championship. Douglas coach Werner Christen, though, knows better than to overlook any opponent.
"Chris has done a good job with his girls, and he plays the game the way it's supposed to be played," Christen said of STHS coach Chris Holmes. "Actually, every coach in this league knows what they're doing. You need to prepare every night. It makes it fun and hard at the same time."
The Vikings made it hard on the Tigers until the third quarter, but Jessica Waggoner scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half as Douglas pulled away for a 44-30 win at Douglas High School.
"I thought we did a good job on Jessica. But once she gets the ball down low, what are you going to do?" Holmes asked rhetorically. "Douglas is a very disciplined. They make all the right decisions."
With South Tahoe limiting Waggoner early on, it was able to stay with Douglas. The Vikings' Alexis Nunes-Fenley, the team's primary post player, scored seven of her team-high 11 points in the third quarter, and her basket with 4:02 left in the quarter made it 30-26.
Douglas' Bridget Maestretti then countered with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Tigers a 36-26 advantage, and they never looked back after that. The Tigers held the Vikings to just three points in the fourth quarter.
Maestretti finished with 13 points and Allie Hughes added nine more for the Tigers, who improved to 22-7 overall and 12-1 in league.
Jessica Hallard scored nine points for the Vikings, and Tess Braun scored all six of her points in the first half before leaving the game with an ankle injury. She returned briefly in the second half but had to leave again.
South Tahoe (11-11, 6-7) plays at North Valleys on Friday in a game with playoff implications as both teams are 6-7 in league. Braun's status for the game is uncertain.
The winner of the game clinches the league's No. 3 seed in next week's Northern 4A regional tournament. The loser can still advance to the playoffs, but Hug is 5-7 entering the final night of the regular season and could win a tiebreaker situation.
"We don't want to back our way into the playoffs," said Holmes, who is trying to lead STHS into the playoffs for the first time since 1996. "We are going up there to win."