Douglas High boys basketball
Douglas High senior Kasen Boggs goes up for a layup during the Class 5A state semifinals against Liberty High Friday evening at Lawlor Events Center. Boggs had 13 points in his final game in a Tiger uniform.
Photo by Ron Harpin.
RENO – There isn’t a shred of doubt that Douglas High boys’ basketball wanted to take a shot at Bishop Gorman in the Class 5A state championship game Saturday night.
Though the Tigers fell to Liberty, 62-43, in the state semifinals it’s impossible to argue that Douglas didn’t peak at the right time.
In order to get to the state tournament, Douglas won its first regional title under 16-year head coach Corey Thacker.
In doing so, the Tigers won 12 of 13 games to close out the season, including five straight after dethroning the defending northern regional champs in Spanish Springs.
It’s arguably the best in-season streak Douglas boys basketball has seen in decades.
Though the Tigers close out the 2021-22 campaign with a 20-8 record, playing on the home floor of the Wolf Pack in the state final four is an accomplishment all to itself.
“The growth we had since the beginning of the year. They had to work hard,” said head coach Corey Thacker. “We had to have that growth. We wouldn’t have been here without it.”
(Douglas High junior JC Reid tosses up a 3-pointer against Liberty Friday night in the Class 5A state semifinals. Reid finished with 11 points in the Tigers' loss. / Ron Harpin)
Back in early December, Douglas fell in overtime to Damonte Ranch, 86-78.
Thacker described that game as a shootout because Douglas ‘was just trying to outscore people.’
It will go down as the game in which the Tigers allowed the most points all season.
In Friday night’s state semifinal, Liberty came into the building averaging 74 points per contest.
Douglas kept the Patriots to 62.
The defensive mindset and tenacity goes back to the Tigers’ regional final win over Spanish Springs, in which Douglas gave up a measly 10 points in the second half to clinch the Class 5A North regional title.
“It’s crazy. What we accomplished is stuff people in this valley don’t get to talk about,” said Thacker. “There’s not a lot of alumni that get to say that and hopefully we’ve started a little trend.”
Down 11-8 late in the first quarter, Liberty was able to reel off an 11-0 run to make it a 22-8 contest.
Douglas did its best to keep the Patriots within striking distance, but the size and physicality of the No. 2 team from Las Vegas kept the Tigers from getting back into the contest.
Douglas trailed 38-18 at half and remained down by about 18-20 points through the remainder of the contest.
With six seniors dressed on the roster this season, the Tigers will have a lot to do in attempting to replace the talent of this season.
Kasen Boggs ended the night with 13 points and will go down as the leading scorer in the Class 5A North this season after averaging 20.3 points per game.
Chris Smalley had 10 points and at least two blocks on the inside and will be a post presence that will be greatly missed next season.
“Their leadership,” said Thacker. “They want to be better everyday. They are the reason our team comes together. They have each other’s back and hold each other accountable when needed.”
Along with Boggs and Smalley, Douglas will lose Dakota Jones, Neil Lewis, Carson Hill, Connor Ward and Chris Myers to graduation in the spring.
“I’m getting old now. … 2022 was a good year and we’re going to talk about it for a long time,” said Thacker. “I’m just proud of these kids. It was great.”
The Class 5A state championship will be decided Saturday evening at 5 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center between 10-time defending champion, Bishop Gorman, and Liberty High School.
Class 5A boys state semifinal scores
No. 2 Liberty 62, No. 1 Douglas 43
No. 1 Bishop Gorman 83, No. 2 Spanish Springs 49