R-C Sports Notebook: Best ... game ... ever

My snap reaction after the Douglas boys' basketball team's remarkable comeback win over Galena Saturday night was that it was the best high school basketball game I'd ever seen.

I second-guessed myself, because I naturally tend to think in superlatives like that. Then three former and current basketball coaches walked out the door and echoed similar sentiments.

For those that were there, you know exactly of what I speak. For those that weren't, you really missed out.

Let's put it this way: The game was all but over heading into the fourth quarter. There was a time in the third quarter, after Chris Downs hit a 3-pointer, Galena coach Tom Mauer was called for a technical and Douglas hit a series of three free throws to close the gap to 45-34, that it appeared the Tigers may still have a shot.

However, Galena answered with a 7-2 run to stretch the lead out and finished the third quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Alex Hansen that appeared to be the nail in the coffin for Douglas.

Hansen hit the back end of a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 20 early in the fourth and I started to prepare my notes for putting some sort of positive spin on a blowout loss.

Then a completely different Douglas squad brought the ball down the floor. They were patient running their motion sets, they made the extra pass to finish things off and, probably most importantly, they really stepped things up defensively.

There were a number of different factors that played into, one of which being that three Galena players fouled out, two of which came early in the fourth. Another was that Douglas was nearly unstoppable on the defensive glass down stretch.

It all added up to an unbelievable 33-8 run through the final six minutes. Galena went without a field goal over the last 3:58 and without a point over the last 1:06.

Douglas hit three 3-pointers in the final three minutes and drew a number of important fouls to pick up three additional points along the way.

I thought about trying to rank the top comebacks I've seen in my time at The R-C, but this game stood on its own pretty well.

I'll say this, if the team that won that game in the fourth quarter shows up for the rest of the season, Douglas could realistically be looking at a league title. This Friday's game against top-ranked Manogue could be a great venue to show that potential off.

It occured to me, sitting in Wooster's gym Friday night, that things looked an odd bit familiar.

I've had the thought before, and I'm sure you've all noticed it too, but it would seem the Washoe County School District tends to repurpose some of the blueprints for schools built around the same times.

Think about it. Wooster and Hug are essentially the same gym, although Hug improved its bleacher system greatly a few years back. McQueen and Galena " same gym. North Valleys and Damonte Ranch are near carbon-copies as well.

Then there come the exceptions " Reno (which is the oldest of the lot), Reed (which is slightly similar to Galena and McQueen, but with much deeper seating and a more open hallway at the back end) and Spanish Springs (a massive venue in its own right that could rival some small colleges across the country.

There was an odd bit of poetic justive to James McLaughlin's first appearance of the season before a home crowd against Damonte Ranch last week.

It was against Damonte Ranch, of course, that we'd last seen him being carted away from the football field after suffering a broken leg.

He was impressive in his return, scoring 15 points in his first significant action of the season.

- Damonte Ranch's Josh Butler can really jump. I mean, seriously. Sure he's the defending state champ in the high jump and everything, but I was really afraid the 6-4, 200-pound post player was going to hit his head on the rim during warm-ups of Tuesday night's basketball game.

- I'm all for school spirit, but those guys in the front row of the student section know they are wearing the old girls' basketball uniforms, right?

- I've decided that basketball warm-ups would make a really, really great set of pajamas.

- Ne'Jae Jackson just may be the fastest post player in the state.

- Wooster gets the award for longest danceline routine ever. I lost count somewhere around four minutes.

- Parker Robertson gets the award for being the victim of the goofiest looking foul of the year. He was dropping back into the paint with about five minutes left in the third quarter against Wooster Friday night when the Colts' post player reached both of his arms up and under Robertson's arm pits and .. well, as best as I could see ... tried to tickle him.

- There were three buzzer-beating shots (all of them made) out of four possible buzzers in the Douglas-Wooster boys' basketball game. Can't say I've seen that before.

- The Wooster boys' squad hit six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Friday night. Of course, Douglas held nearly a 40-point lead heading in, so take from it what you will.

- The Douglas boys have averaged 87.8 points per game offensively against Wooster over the past four years. That comes with an average margin of victory of 25.3 points.

- Just highlighting coach Corey Thacker's "share the ball" philosophy, Douglas had four players finish in double figures in both the Wooster and Galena victories. What was interesting about that, though, was that it was seven different players, or 64 percent of the Tigers' roster, that posted those numbers over the two nights. Only Cale Pete finished in double figures both games.

Keeping in mind Douglas' dominance over the Colts in the past four years, what was the closest game of the batch, and what were the circumstances that made it so close?

- This one gets the nod just in terms of sheer hustle. With a 21-12 lead on Damonte Ranch Tuesday night, a Douglas shooter had an air ball shot that was headed quickly out of bounds. Freshman Katie Dry used a burst of speed to track it down and dish it back to Jessica Waggoner in one motion and Waggoner put it up for an easy lay-up.

- South Tahoe boys give Galena a run. Galena is a pretty good team, especially considering their youth. The fact that the Vikings came within two of beating the Grizzlies Friday night did two things. One, it showed that South Tahoe will be tough to handle at the Lake this year. Two, it really wore down the Grizzlies, as evidenced by Saturday night's fourth quarter collapse.

- McQueen girls knock off Elko. The Lancers have been floating under the radar a bit through non-league play, but with Saturday's win, they find themselves in playoff contention at 2-1.

- Hug boys beat Reno. This is one of the biggest upsets of the year so far, with the sixth-ranked Hawks beating No. 2 Reno, not just late and close, but by nine points. That's a strong win no matter which way you spin it. Suddenly, the Hawks are the lone unbeaten team left in the High Desert League.

- Hug girls make it close against top-ranked Reno. Reno escaped with a 55-52 win over the 10th-ranked Hawks, but I never would have picked it to be that close. Reno was fresh off an important, emotional win over Reed and Hug really hasn't beaten anyone of note this year. Suddenly, the Hug-Spanish Springs and Hug-Reed matchups become quite a bit more interesting. I'm chalking Reno's scare up to emotional letdown from the Raider game.

Not-so-much: Reno girls top Reed in league play. There will probably be an argument all year about which of the two is the better team. Reed probably has more individual talent but Reno has much more depth, and that is what I believe will carry the Huskies to their second-straight regional title.

If I had a vote for overall player of the year in the Northern 4A Regional basketball honors ballots (and I don't), this is what it would look like, based mostly on their respective performances over the last week:

Boys' Basketball

1. Austin Morgan, Reno; 2. Bobby Hunter, Manogue; 3. Keith Feutsch, Manogue; 4. James McLaughlin, Douglas; 5. Taelor Marchbanks, Spanish Springs.

Girls' Basketball

1. Ashley Armstrong, Manogue; 2. Jessica Waggoner, Douglas; 3. Stephanie Rovetti, Reno; 4. Danielle Peacon, Reed; 5. Erica MacKenzie, Reed

The top athletes, regardless of sport, at Douglas High determined by production during competition, overall value to their team, ability to perform with consistency in routine situations, performance compared to others at the same position throughout the state/region, ability to come up big in clutch situations, versatility, attitude, sportsmanship, overall athletic ability, heart, potential at the next level, and a host of other intangibles (emotional leadership, role-playing value, work ethic, etc.) This is all, of course, just my opinion.

Winter Sports

1. Jessica Waggoner, basketball

2. Nico Barker, wrestling

3. Hillary Sapp, skiing

4. James McLaughlin, basketball

5. Taryn Williams, basketball

6. Crystal Rutledge, skiing

7. Parker Robertson, basketball

8. Tim Souza, wrestling

9. Dillon Spates, wrestling

10. Dany Heidt, basketball

If there were more names on the list: Nick Hales, basketball; Chris Downs, basketball; Eddie Kollar, wrestling; Wes Peterson, wrestling; Michael Sepulveda, wrestling; Justin Freeman, wrestling; Tyler Cook, wrestling; Ally Freitas, basketball; Tim Rudnick, basketball; Cale Pete, basketball.

2008-09 School Year

1. Jessica Waggoner, volleyball/basketball

2. Tim Rudnick, football/basketball

3. Nico Barker, football/wrestling

4. Taryn Williams, volleyball/basketball

5. Parker Robertson, football/basketball

6. Dany Heidt, soccer/basketball

7. Ally Freitas, soccer/basketball

8. James McLaughlin, basketball/football

9. Luis Pina-Duarte, football/basketball

10. Niki Hamzik, tennis/basketball

Since I've been here (2003)

1. Luke Rippee, football/basketball/baseball (2003)

2. Jessica Waggoner, volleyball/basketball/track (2005-present)

3. Brittany Puzey, basketball/softball (2003-04)

4. Tim Rudnick, football/basketball/baseball (2006-present)

5. Bridget Maestretti, volleyball/basketball/softball/track (2004-08)

6. Tyson Estes, football/basketball/baseball (2003-05)

7. Ryan Pruitt, football/wrestling/baseball (2005-07)

8. Mike Gransbery, soccer/basketball (2004-07)

9. James McLaughlin, football/basketball (2006-present)

10. Kayla Dunn, volleyball/softball (2004-05)

"Wait, do they have roast beef here?" Me, to my wife while we were sitting in the Arby's drive-thru.

- After the Florida defense stuffed Oklahoma on fourth and short twice in the first half of the National Championship game Thursday, I turned the TV off. The game was ugly enough already, but I knew the Oklahome offense wouldn't be recovering from that.

If national titles were based entirely on the best overall team performance during bowl season, I'd have to say Utah would be looking pretty good.

If you don't make sure your television is prepared for the Feb. 19 changeover to digital broadcasting, it is very possible you'll only be able to watch extended year-round coverage of the Golden Globe Awards. Just consider yourself warned.

- A kids' song simply isn't a kids' song unless you can shout "Yee Haw" at the end of it.

Irrational Fear: Galena Bridge

Guilty Pleasure: The Paul Bunyan Statue behind the Chocolate Nugget. That is Paul Bunyan, right? Or is that just a really, really big Lumberjack?

Douglas topped Wooster 76-71 in overtime at Wooster on the final weekend of the 2007 regular season. Starting center Keith Olson, starting point guard Mike Gransbery and starting power forward Jeff Nady all missed the game with assorted leg injuries. Wooster outscored the Tigers 33-15 in the fourth to tie the game up and send it to overtime.


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