Basketball: Tigers claim Sierra League title
Last year, the Douglas High boys basketball team clinched its first league title in 15 years.
It didn’t take near as long to repeat the feat this time around as Douglas sealed up the 2013 Sierra League title with a 63-47 win at Manogue Friday.
This time the span between crowns lasted 51 weeks.
It’s the first time since the school won Northern 1A regional titles in 1958-59 and 1959-60 that Douglas has won back-to-back titles of any kind.
But, as with how much of this season has played out, the Tigers took it all in stride. There are, after all, higher goals to acheive.
“It’s a good compliment to the guys in that locker room and the work they have put in,” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. “But it’s like I’ve been saying all year. What we want to see is the kids get better every time they go out there and keep taking that next step up.
“This is nice, but there are a lot more things this group wants to do and a lot more work we need to put in to get there.”
Douglas wasted little time putting the game all but out of reach Friday night. The Tigers opened the game on a 7-0 run bolstered by a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Hunter Myers and a nice slashing lay-up from Michael Nolting.
Myers chipped in another seven points, including another 3-pointer, over the following two minutes of play as Douglas ramped the lead up to 18-2.
Jaden Mustacchio added a pair of jumpers during the run to round out the opening scoring.
A banked-in 3-pointer from senior Joe Syammach at the first-quarter buzzer put the Tigers up 21-4.
Manogue never got back to within 10 points as Douglas cycled through its entire roster liberally for the remainder of the game.
“We wanted to set a good tone right away,” Thacker said. “I thought the guys came out focused, but we just weren’t able to maintain it throughout.
“We want that complete 32 minutes and there were stretches where we let Manogue back in. We know we can do it, it’s just a matter of carrying it through the whole time.”
Myers led the way with 18 points for the Tigers. James Herrick had nine, Syammach had seven, Mustacchio, Austin Evans and Jaden Wass each had six, AJ Pfaffenberger had five, Nolting had four and Pat Johnson had two in the win.
Manogue was able to keep the game from getting out of control with sound outside shooting. The Miners hit eight 3-pointers on the night.
Douglas closes out the regular season hosting Damonte Ranch Tuesday at 7 p.m. and traveling to rival Carson Friday, also at 7 p.m.
“It’s good to get the league wrapped up, but we are very excited to have two really great opponents to finish out the year,” Thacker said. “We can’t ease up at all. Damonte is fighting for playoff position and Carson at Carson is always a big game. Both games are going to be tough.
“We just want to play well, play hard and hopefully set a good tone for the postseason.”
For a long period of time Friday night, there just wasn’t much visible difference between the Sierra League champ Manogue girls basketball team and the upstart Douglas Tigers.
As time went on, though, experience won out as the Miners cruised to a 54-35 win.
It was a far reach from the first half of the game, which saw Douglas leading 15-13 after one quarter and trailing just 28-24 with a 30 seconds left in the first half.
“I think what you saw tonight was a very talented young team and a very talented veteran team,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said. “There were times where we were right there with them, and there were times where we just weren’t taking care of the little things and Manogue made us pay.
“That’s the mark of a veteran team. They take care of the little things and they capitalize on it when you don’t.”
Manogue stretched out several small leads in the first quarter, but Douglas battled back through each of them, taking a 15-13 lead on a layup from Corryne Millett with 16.9 seconds left in the first.
The Miners came rumbling back to start the second quarter, quickly re-taking the lead at 20-15 on a personal 7-0 run from senior guard Kelly Lujan.
Douglas senior Diana Regalado helped stem that momentum by scoring the Tigers’ next six points.
Manogue hit four 3-pointers in that second quarter, most of which the Tigers were able to absorb. The third and fourth shots from outside came late in the half, helping the Miners to a 32-24 lead goinng into half time.
“We got into that mode of waiting around instead of going to the ball,” Christen said.
“Manogue runs a good press on defense and it got to us. They started knocking down some shots and then that last 30 seconds of the half was costly. Manogue came out hard in the second half and never turned back.”
Manogue extended a 4-0 run heading into the locker rooms to a 12-2 run. An 8-0 stretch from Manogue’s Gabby Concepcion to close out the third quarter sealed the win.
“It was a case where we hung with them for a good amount of time,” Christen said. “That was the best first half we played this year. You know, that’s the type of team we can be with more experience. The kids played hard, they are continuing to give us everything they can give us. And we are a lot better than we were four weeks ago, which is a testament to their work ethic. Now we just have to build on that.”
Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.