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Douglas bounced from playoffs

by Chuck Smock

Douglas senior Seth Lee made sure the Tigers got off to a fast start in their opening-round playoff game against Fallon on Wednesday at DHS.

Lee scored his team’s first eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first two and a half minutes, to help Douglas post a 15-10 lead after eight minutes.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they couldn’t maintain their offensive momentum. And they couldn’t keep Fallon from finding an offensive rhythm of its own, despite the fact that the Greenwave made just one of 10 3-point shots in the first half.

Fallon, on the strength of a 21-6 run in the third quarter, rolled to a 58-48 victory.

The Greenwave opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run and closed it out with an 8-1 scoring advantage. Fallon made nine of 12 (75 percent) field goal attempts in the period and was three-for-four from 3-point range.

“The third quarter was the story,” Douglas coach Keith Lewis said. “Bottom line, they started knocking down some shots. We knew if they knocked down their shots, they were going to be tough.”

Douglas’ quick start may have masked some playoff jitters. None of the Tigers had ever played in a postseason game before.

Lewis’ squad turned the ball over six times in the second quarter, but still managed a three-point halftime lead. At least a half-dozen times in the first half, a Douglas player got into trouble by forcing a pass or trying to do too much with the ball.

“I just thought, all night, we looked like a team that had not been there (the playoffs),” Lewis said. “Fallon looked a little more sure of themselves. Maybe that one game of playoff experience last year helped them.

“We got beat by a better team. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. Fallon definitely was the better team (Wednesday night). I’d be very surprised if they didn’t win another game to get themselves into the state tournament.”

Fallon played Galena in the Region semifinals Friday night in Reno. McQueen and Reno met in the other semifinal game Friday. The two winners will play for the Region championship today at 6:30 p.m. at Reno High. The losers will play at 2:40 p.m. today for third place. The top three teams will advance to next week’s NIAA/U.S. Bank State championship tournament.

Lee led the Tigers with 21 points, six rebounds and six steals in his final game in a Douglas uniform. He made nine of 11 free throws against Fallon. In his last five games, Lee was an incredible 36-for-40 (90 percent) from the free-throw line.

Will Thomas chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds against Fallon. Erik Olson scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds.

High-flying forward Aarik Wilson led the Greenwave with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 17 of his points in the last two quarters, including a monster, two-handed dunk at the final buzzer to punctuate the victory.

The last dunk – Wilson’s third of the night -was so impressive several Douglas fans surrounded the Fallon senior just for the chance to shake his hand.

“I thought we lost track of Wilson in the second half,” Lewis said. “They started working cutters on the baseline on us and were running a double-pick on the perimeter. Defensively, I didn’t think we reacted the way we needed to react.

“We didn’t play like we wanted to play, but we got our feet wet (in the playoffs). We’re not going to let this game overshadow what they’ve done this year. They have a lot to be proud of.”

Lewis added that he was pleased with the number of people who came out to watch the Tigers’ first home playoff game since 1997.

“I thought we had a good crowd,” he said. “I appreciate that people came out on Valentine’s Day and supported these guys. I know the kids appreciated it too.”