Through three quarters Saturday night, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before the Douglas boys' basketball team would be able to break through against Reno in the Northern 4A Regional Championship Game at Spanish Springs.
The Tigers had closed the gap in each previous quarter, and outscored the Huskies in the third.
Senior center Jeff Nady drilled a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the fourth to draw the Tigers within four at 50-46 and things seemed to be looking up for Douglas.
The part the Tigers couldn't account for was Reno's depth as the Huskies followed with a 9-0 run on points primarily from their role players to push ahead to a 69-53 win.
"They are 10 deep, there is no question," Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. "They all play at the same level. They are a great team and all their guys contribute.
"We beat them in the third quarter, but they just wore us down. Their depth got to us."
Even in the face of the loss, Douglas was left with plenty of reason for optimism as the Tigers had clinched their first state berth in 16 years earlier in the week.
Douglas will take on Cheyenne Thursday at Lawlor Events Center in Reno with a 4:40 p.m. tipoff in the first round of the state tournament.
"Not many teams get a second chance," Thacker said. "Ask any of the guys from last year's team (Douglas lost to Galena in the regional championship by one point), obviously they would prefer this situation.
"It's a great opportunity, and we'll work hard to try to see Reno one more time."
The game opened up as a back-and-forth battle as Douglas pulled out a slim 11-10 lead through the first five minutes.
An Olek Czyz dunk sparked a 10-2 run for Reno, however, and the Huskies parlayed that into a 20-15 lead coming out of the first quarter.
After Reno's John Stewart hit a 3-pointer to open the second quarter, Douglas got back into the game with a 7-0 run highlighted by five points from Nady and a basket from David Laird to cut the Reno lead to 23-22.
Reno's standout point guard Austin Morgan stopped that run with a 3-pointers and Stewart came back down with another 3-pointers near the three-minute mark to make it 29-24.
Nady hit the front end of a pair of free throws with 58.4 seconds left to bring Douglas within three at 33-30, but Reno played for the last shot for the entire final minute and Zach Sanford hit the payoff - a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left on the clock.
Douglas outscored the Huskies 13-12 in the third, but Reno followed its 9-0 outburst early in the fourth with a 6-0 run less than three minutes left to put the game away.
The Tigers were effective in keeping Reno out of its transition game, but the Huskies employed an ultra-patient motion offense through the start of the fourth that visibly wore down Douglas' defense.
"They just bring so much stuff at you," Douglas point guard Ross Bertolone said. "We just come out and play solid defense, bring some pressure and do what we could."
Reno's Morgan led all scorers with 21 points, including three 3-pointers. Czyz and Stewart each had 13 and Sanford finished with 10.
Nady led Douglas with 18 points, Laird had 14, James McLaughlin had nine and Bertolone finished with eight.
Reno also had a phenomenal night shooting the ball, hitting 26-of-40 from the field.
"The best part of their game is that transition and getting second looks," Thacker said. "We worked hard to take those things away, but they didn't miss their shots much, which hurt."
Douglas will get the first part of the week to regroup and prepare for the state tournament matchup against the Sunset Region champs.
"We just have to get this game out of our minds right here and move on," Bertolone said. "We have to work hard this week, do the best we can and hopefully get a chance to meet up with Reno again.
"This is the first time in 16 years this program has had this opportunity. It's exciting. Just to be a part of something like this, it's great."