Douglas boys basketball team host Whittell |

Douglas boys basketball team host Whittell

by Chuck Smock, Sports editor

The Douglas boys are on the eve of a Sierra League basketball season that promises to be a dogfight every night for the four Region playoff berths.

But first, the Tigers will have to deal with the Whittell Warriors. Douglas plays host to Whittell on Friday at 7 p.m. in the DHS gym. The Tigers will open league play with a home game against the Reno Huskies on Friday, Jan. 5.

“It’s nice to have one game between Christmas and the first game of league play,” Douglas coach Keith Lewis said. “And you better believe these kids are going to be ready.”

That’s because the Warriors, who played in the 3A division last season, beat the Tigers, 55-46, last season.

“That was, and still is, my most embarrassing moment as a coach – nothing against Whittell,” Lewis said. “It was a frustrating night.”

The Tigers may have entered last year’s contest a bit overconfident. One player approached Lewis the day before the game and asked the coach what time the “scrimmage” was.

Whittell, which has dropped down to the 2A division because of declining enrollment numbers, approached the Tigers about playing again this season.

Lewis said he expects the Warriors to play zone defense in an effort to slow the pace of the game. He added that the Tigers will try to use their size advantage to control things under the basket at both ends of the floor.

In addition to the opportunity to administer at least a small dose of payback, the Tigers will also use the game as a final opportunity to settle the depth chart.

“We’re going to try to get a lot of guys some playing time,” Lewis said. “It’s one last chance to see some guys before we get into league, to solidify the rotation.

“We’re still struggling whether we’re going to be able to go 10 deep or not.

We have a solid seven and we’re looking for a couple guys who will let us go eight or nine deep. The thing about it is you have to be ready every time your name is called. You have to be ready to step up.”

The Tigers enter Friday’s game coming off a 1-2 performance at the Powerade Prep Holiday Classic tournament in Las Vegas last week. Douglas dropped its first two games before securing a 67-54 win over Las Vegas’ Basic High. The Tigers let second-half leads slip away in both losses.

“The thing we learned from the three games is we have to put 32 minutes together,” Lewis said. “In all three games we started well in the second half, but we weren’t able to maintain the intensity.”

Lewis said several of the Tigers stepped up their games in Las Vegas.

Junior point guard Travis Baker continues to improve as he makes the transition to varsity basketball.

“Travis is playing better,” Lewis said. “He’s doing a better job understanding where people are going to be open.”

Seniors Rob Honer and Seth Lee also had good tournament. Both players are rebounding well and doing a good job creating turnovers by jumping the passing lanes on defense.

Junior Erik Olson scored in double figures in all three games in Las Vegas. Olson and one or two other Tigers will be counted on for offensive production in Sierra League play, when opponents surely will focus on stopping Lee, who averaged nearly 25 points per game in December.

Junior Dominik Prosser had one of his better games in the win over Basic.

“Dominik played real well Wednesday,” Lewis said. “He hit two 3-pointers, he played more aggressively and he rebounded better. He’s one of the nicest kids in the whole world. He has to learn how to become a different person when he walks on the court.”