DHS girls basketball excited about the season
His team has been practicing for only one week, but Douglas girls’ basketball coach Werner Christen is already excited about the upcoming season.
And why not?
The Tigers return an excellent group of experienced and talented seniors. They have an athletic class of juniors, including four players who are 6 feet tall. And the roster is loaded with players who know what it takes to win a championship.
Senior Rosie Contri returns as a first-team All-Division II guard. This fall, Contri qualified as an individual to play in the state golf tournament.
Senior Jenny Smokey is starting her third year on the DHS varsity. Smokey finished sixth overall at the recent state cross country meet to lead the Tigers to the state championship.
And eight of the 16 players on the varsity roster played for the Douglas volleyball team that won the state championship two weeks ago in Reno.
“They have so much energy, they want to learn and they’re working hard,” Christen said. “We’ve only been doing this a week, but it’s already been a blast. They’re always ready to practice and you have to drag them off the floor at the end of the day.
“This year, the practices have been so competitive because they realize the team is so deep.”
Christen is entering his first year as the girls’ varsity head coach. He is in his 13th season at DHS, where he also has served as the boys’ and girls’ varsity assistant coach as well as the junior varsity and freshman head coach.
Allen Gosselin will be Christen’s varsity assistant coach. This is Gosselin’s sixth season coaching basketball at Douglas. Like Christen, Gosselin has been impressed with the Tigers play early in the season.
“Their effort and execution has been really good,” Gosselin said. “They’re working hard and they’re paying attention to the details.”
Danny Hamer, a 1991 DHS graduate, is working as a graduate assistant coach for the Tigers. Hamer, a former basketball, soccer and track athlete at Douglas, recently earned a degree in Latin American studies from San Francisco State.
Christen said he hopes the Tigers will be able to play an up-tempo, aggressive brand of basketball from baseline to baseline this season. Douglas will try to push the pace on offense and will employ a pressure defense designed to keep its opponent from playing a half-court game at either end of the court.
“It’s going to benefit us to play an up-tempo, fly-around-the-court type of game,” Christen said. “Allen has designed a great defensive scheme we like to call ‘organized confusion.'”
Christen said the aggressive attitude of this year’s team has already started to show itself in practice.
“If there’s a loose ball, they get after it,” he said. “The custodians here don’t even have to mop the gym after we practice.”
Contri leads a talented group of Tiger guards. Smokey and fellow senior Tomasa Kizer will help run the backcourt, along with juniors Natalie Stratton, Kim Githens and Christie Burruel and freshman Andrea Honer. Christen said Honer is the first freshman to start the season on the varsity roster in recent memory.
Rebecca Rippee will contribute for the Tigers in a variety of situations, Christen said. Rippee can play every position from off-guard to center.
Senior Brooke Kizer is a returning All-Division II player who will play key minutes at the forward and center positions. And juniors Stephanie Combes and Michelle Roza are versatile players who can play both forward and guard.
Christina Morgan returns as a senior forward who Christen said will help the Tigers inside the paint this season.
Jessica Granat and J.K. Koenig lead the quartet of 6-foot juniors. Both players dominated at the net on the volleyball court for the state champions this fall. Krista Edling and Lauren Myers will also be key front-line players, especially in an up-tempo style of play that puts a premium on keeping fresh bodies in the game.
“Coach Gosselin and I figure the more players we keep involved the better it will be for the whole program,” Christen said.
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