Douglas High boys basketball

Douglas boys look for third straight state tourney berth

Caden Thacker gets around a defender for a layup Tuesday against McQueen. Thacker and the Tigers are looking for their third trip to the state tournament in as many years.

Caden Thacker gets around a defender for a layup Tuesday against McQueen. Thacker and the Tigers are looking for their third trip to the state tournament in as many years.
Photo by Ron Harpin.

Expectations for the Douglas High School boys basketball team this season have been set by those that came before them.

The Tigers have been state tournament qualifiers two years in a row and have eyes on a third berth this winter.

There’s some changes to the landscape this year as the highest classification in Northern Nevada basketball is now Class 4A.

All nine teams in Northern Class 5A last season have been reclassified to 4A so the league will look the same.

However in Las Vegas, Class 4A holds 24 teams split into four leagues.

Class 5A still remains, but it is a Southern Nevada classification only, containing 12 teams, including defending state champion Durango and Bishop Gorman.

Douglas has one league game under its belt — a 72-69 loss to McQueen — giving the Tigers their first taste of where they need to go this season in order to make a deep playoff push.

“Giving up 72 points, we have to play more sound defense,” said coach Corey Thacker. “We have to get in front of the ball. We weren’t very smart (Tuesday) and it showed.”

(Douglas High senior Jett Lehmann rises for a dunk against McQueen on Tuesday. Lehmann and the Tigers are eyeing another trip to state this winter. / Ron Harpin)

Lineup takes shape

Leading the charge for the Tigers will be their guards, featuring Caden Thacker, Jett Lehmann and Jeremiah Pitts.

Thacker returns after being named first team all-league as a sophomore and immediately showed how much he’s been working in the offseason, scoring 27 points against the Lancers.

The 5-foot-10 point guard didn’t have his best shooting night either, leaving the door wide open on potential scoring outbursts this season.

Lehmann returns after averaging four points and two rebounds per game last season.

The high-flying senior should see his role increase heavily this winter, posting 18 points, four assists, four steals and a pair of blocks in the opener.

Pitts returns as well for his senior season, recording nine points and a pair of steals against the Lancers.

“They’re going to draw a lot of defenders to them. It’s how we all step up as an offensive team,” said coach Thacker. “Those guys aren’t going to carry us the whole way. We have to work together.”

Inside the paint will feature players who didn’t see much varsity action last season.

Trace Estes, Kyle Koontz and Cole Smalley were all rotated through Tuesday as they figure out their roles.

“We have a lot of guys that can score, it’s just how can we keep it moving to open it up for everybody to score,” said Thacker. “We want to play solid defense first, but we want to get out in transition.”

Alongside those six will be Reese Torres, Luke Main and Reed Ward.

Torres and Ward are seniors. Both players saw sporadic minutes last season, but will be challenged with more work this season.

Ishmi Enos, Jesse Messick and Daron Dondero also got some minutes on the floor in the league opener.

“We’re hoping we can go 10 deep,” said Thacker. “We just want to be able to get after people the entire time.”

As they have been in year’s past, the Tigers want to get out and run on offense.

Of course, that starts with aggressive defense that forces turnovers and allows the Tigers to run in transition.

This weekend, the Tigers will get tested in the Wild West Shootout in Reno.

Thacker said he expects Damonte Ranch, McQueen, Reno, Spanish Springs and Bishop Manogue to all be battling with the Tigers for the top spots.


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