R-C Sports Notebook: Big Friday night

This one has been looming on the calendar since the prep basketball schedules were released early this fall, but Friday night's matchup between the Douglas and Reno boys' squads in Minden will be one of the must-see battles in the Northern 4A this season.

At stake is first place in the Sierra League, for the time being at least, but the game brings with it all sorts of story lines and marquee matchups.

First of all, Reno will be looking to settle a score.

Douglas blindsided the Huskies in the regional semifinals last year, outscoring them 20-0 in the first quarter on their way to an 86-59 win. This came after several years of the Huskies dominating the Tigers in league matchups, including both regular-season games last year.

Reno brings back its two stars " Duke-bound Olek Czyz and sharp-shooter Austin Morgan, while Douglas has four starters who played big roles in last year's playoff game.

Douglas center Jeff Nady and Czyz should be a remarkable matchup. Both can hit the outside shot, and both are solid inside. Nady will likely draw the assignment on Czyz defensively, although David Laird will probably provide a lot of help.

The Tigers' interior defense so far this season has been stellar, and it will need to be the same to have a shot at the Huskies.

Word is that Reno is at its best on the offensive glass, which is exactly what first-year Douglas coach Corey Thacker has been looking to take away from his opponents this season.

But even with that, the Tigers will need to come up with some big plays along the perimeter as a number of Huskies are able to convert from beyond the arc.

Reno has given Douglas fits with its full court press in recent seasons, but this year's Tigers are built to run so it'll be interesting to see how far they've come since last year.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Friday, but the two teams will do it all over again Feb. 8 in Reno in a game that will likely decide the Sierra League title.

On the girls' side, Reno has established itself with Reed as the elite teams in the region.

As evidenced by the Huskies' 73-30 win over the Tigers during the High Sierra Winter Classic earlier this season, Douglas hasn't found a spot at that level yet.

But this is a game that has all the ingredients for an upset. It's just a matter of them being mixed up the right way.

Reno has not lost a Sierra League game in years, but Douglas has an exceptional defense this year.

The early-season matchup was the Tigers second game in one day after an emotional win over Spanish Springs earlier in the day. Reno kept its starters in for the majority of that game while Douglas took the opportunity to get some experience for some younger players, which led to the one-sided score.

Last year, the Tigers led at home after the first quarter against the Huskies, but Reno's depth took over as the game went on.

This year's Tiger squad has experience and has seen Reno several times. This could be the night Reno's league streak comes to an end. Or it could be another 40-point blowout. Time will tell.

Tipoff for Friday's game is 5:15 p.m.


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