Boys’ Basketball: Tigers went on one magnificent ride
In one year the Douglas boys’ basketball team went from sitting home during the playoffs to one-point away from the regional championship.
Sporting one of the tallest rosters man-for-man in recent memory, loaded with heavily-experienced seniors and set against one of the toughest schedules in school history, one certainly got the feeling this was going to be a special year.
“Everywhere I go now, people are very appreciative of the product we were able to put out there,” Douglas coach Rob Streeter said. “It definitely makes you feel good.”
Streeter was refering to the response since the team nearly beat eventual state champion Galena in the Northern 4A Regional title game and upset defending state champion Reno in the semifinals with a remarkable 25-0 run to open the game.
Even with the bulk of the roster graduating, Streeter sees plenty of hope for the future thanks to the offseason AAU program former coach Keith Lewis set up years ago.
“We have some huge shoes to fill, there’s no question about it,” Streeter said. “We’ll be a different squad next year, but the younger kids will take that as a challenge.
“We’re not looking to rebuild, it’s more of a situation where we can reload now. With the AAU programs Keith got started years ago … you don’t want to call it a factory, but we do have some very talented and experienced players coming up.”
It was also Lewis who called up the core of this year’s seniors to varsity when they were sophomores three years ago.
Starters Keith Olson (6-10) and Mike Gransbery, along with defensive wizard Nate Whalin anchored the starting lineup while Joe Nady (6-7), up-tempo guard Jared Trowbridge and sparkplug Brandon Bernard filled out the veteran bench.
“This year’s seniors, they showed us how to get there, where we want to be,” Streeter said. “We came one possession short of a regional title. Motivation for the returning guys will be easy.
“I think the younger guys want to make a name for themselves now, they saw the way the seniors led us this year and now they want to be the ones playing that final weekend and holding upa trophy.
“Consistency is the mark of a true program, and that’s what we will be striving for.”
Juniors Jeff Nady and Kevin Emm will return to the starting lineup and Ryan McPeek, David Laird, James McLaughlin, Herman Fillmore and Ross Bertolone will round out the returning group.
The Tigers ran off six wins and two tournament championships to open the year before suffering its first loss of the season to national No. 10 Arlington Country Day.
They followed with a strong first half against national No. 2 Artesia before the Pioneers pulled away and dropped two more games in the prestigious George Maldonado Classic.
Douglas ran off five wins in its next six games and lost only four times over its final 20 outings.
It marked the first 20-win season for the Tigers since Douglas claimed the 2A state title in 1979 and the playoff win in the first round over Reed was the school’s first since 1992.
Streeter said he and the team will get back to work in several weeks for another tough slate of out-of-state tournaments
“We’ll start doing some workouts in the middle of March,” he said. “Our first tournament will be in late March.
“The seventh- and eighth-grade teams are starting up, everything is going to get back into full swing for the offseason.”
— Joey Crandall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.