MINDEN — A goal set before the year began came down to the last 4 minutes, 41 seconds of the regular season for the Douglas High girls basketball team.
With Carson on the verge of pulling off a season sweep against the Tigers, Douglas had the one last answer in a game that went back and forth.
The Senators led 42-36 with 4:41 left in the game, but Douglas outscored Carson 16-3 down the stretch to come back for a 52-45 win over CHS on Monday at Douglas High’s Randy Green Court.
With the win, Douglas finished at 7-3 in the Sierra League and clinched second place in league play. In the process, the Tigers also clinched a first round playoff game at home as they’ll open the Northern 4A playoffs at 7 p.m. Wednesday when they host Reed, the High Desert League’s No. 3 seed.
Carson, who overcame a six-point deficit in the third quarter on its way to a 12-point swing. The Senators finished at 5-5 in the Sierra League and fourth in league play. The Senators will travel to High Desert League No. 1 seed Reno for a first round playoff game at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“At the beginning of the year that’s always your goal is getting one of the two top two spots,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said.
It didn’t look good with Carson going on a 10-2 run to take a 42-36 lead in the fourth quarter. Abby Golik began the run when she hit a three-pointer to give CHS a 35-34 lead.
Bella Kordonowy then scored Carson’s next nine points to keep CHS out in front. Her fourth three of the game gave the Senators a 42-36 lead. But Taylynn Kizer hit a three to bring Douglas to within 44-41.
The Tigers went up 45-44 when Megan Veil scored on a layup on a pass from Kizer. Douglas was able to overcome a 44-41 deficit thanks to its defense, Christen said. “We finally strung a couple of stops together,” he said.
Golik made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the score 45-45. But Douglas ended the game on a 7-0 run. Kizer scored on a putback to give Douglas a 47-45 lead.
Kizer then was fouled and made the first free throw to give Douglas a 48-45 lead. She missed the second foul shot but Madi Smalley grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Smalley hit both fouls shots to give Douglas a 50-45 lead. Kizer hit two foul shots for the final margin.
Carson played without starting point guard Lily Bouza, who’s out with a season-ending injury but CHS coach Doug Whisler wouldn’t use that as an excuse for the loss.
“It hurt not having Lily,” Whisler said. “But Douglas just beat us tonight. Douglas made more plays than we did at the end.”
Douglas went on a 7-0 run to take a 25-20 lead in the third quarter. Kizer scored on an off balance shot and was fouled during the run. She converted the three-point play to give the Tigers a 25-20 lead.
Douglas went on to take a 29-23 but Carson fought back to within 32-30 when Kordonowy hit a three-pointer to cut the Tigers’ lead to two at the end of the third quarter.
Riley Mello hit a three to give Douglas a 5-0 lead to begin the game but Carson came back to tie the score 5-5 on Golik’s three. Kordonowy hit a three to tie the score 11-11 in the second quarter before Mello responded with a three to give Douglas a 14-11 lead.
Kizer’s three extended the Tigers’ lead to 17-13 but Carson went on a 5-0 run to take an 18-17 lead before the first half ended in an 18-18 tie.
“I’m happy with the way they played,” said Whisler about his team. “They played hard and they played smart. I’m proud of the girls.”
Kizer and Mello each scored 14 points and Smalley added 13 points for Douglas. Kordonowy scored 18 points, Golik had 13 points and Trinity Beard added six points for Carson.
CHS struggled from the foul line in the first half, going 1-of-7 from the line but came back to go 10-of-12 from the line in the second half to finish 11-of-19. Douglas went 12-of-19 from the foul line.
“Carson had a great game plan,” Christen said. “They played hard. They played really, really well. That was a typical rivalry game. Doug had them ready to play.”