Douglas comes up short in showdown | RecordCourier.com
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Douglas comes up short in showdown

Donnie Nelson

Tuesday’s loss to Carson was tough to take for coach Aubrey McCreary and the Douglas varsity boys basketball team.

The Tigers had the win in their grasp, but Jerry Klopf and Bryan Holden took it away. Klopf scored eight points in the final 3:40 and Holden scored what would prove to be the game-winning shot with four seconds left as the Senators escaped from the Tigers’ den with a 46-44 victory.

Douglas did enough things right to win, but a few untimely breakdowns on defense and a few miscues late in the game on offensive eventually spelled doom for a team in need of momentum.

“We’re just way too nice,” McCreary said. “We don’t have a burning desire to be successful.”

Andy Chichester’s two free throws with 4:25 left gave Douglas a 36-32 lead. Klopf then cut the lead to 36-34 with 3:40 remaining with two free throws.

Thomas pushed the lead back to four with a layup off a nifty wrap-around, drop-down pass by Coyne on the right side of the foul line.

Carson tied the game at 38-all with 2:52 left when Klopf drove down the left side of the lane for two and, after a Douglas turnover, Holden put back an offensive rebound.

Coyne then scored on a similar screen and roll play off a similar pass by John Dunbar.

Glass scored inside off a pass from Holden to tie the game and, after Coyne was called for an offensive foul, Klopf made 1-of-2 foul shots to give Carson a 41-40 lead with 1:51 left. In a game which provided a handful of ties and lead changes, Klopf’s foul shot gave Carson the lead for the first time in more than nine minutes dating back to the third quarter.

Andy Bodenstein, who made several outstanding hustle plays on defense, gave Douglas the lead right back with an offensive rebound and putback.

Klopf answered again, knocking down an open three-pointer off a no-look pass from Holden of an inbounds play at midcourt.

Carson had a 44-42 lead with less than a minute remaining when confusion and controversy partially marred what was shaping up to be a fantastic finish.

After the teams traded turnovers and a timeout was called, Douglas was set to inbound the ball at midcourt. When the trailing official gave a Douglas player the ball, Carson had six players on the floor with one trying to get off and still another trying to get on. In the confusion, Scott Warner cut backdoor on the right side, caught a perfect lead pass and scored to tie the game.

Douglas came up with steal on the ensuing inbound pass and appeared to have scored again, or at least drawn a foul. Meanwhile, the trailing official was blowing his whistle trying to halt play. Warner’s basket shouldn’t have counted, but Douglas should have been awarded a technical free throw and the ball back out-of-bounds at midcourt.

Instead, the officials counted the basket but gave the ball back to Carson.

Carson eventually called a timeout with 17 seconds left to set up a play. Holden took it to the basket and scored an uncontested floater.

“We have breakdowns and we don’t execute,” McCreary said. “We don’t do the things we’re supposed to do.”

Douglas called timeout and got the ball out-of-bounds along the right sideline near midcourt with 2.7 seconds left. Warner got off the final shot in time, a fade-away three-pointer from the right baseline, but it came up short.

Douglas got plenty of good looks at the basket out of the half-court offense in the first half but managed to make only 7-of-24 attempts. The Tigers made 3-of-6 shots from behind the arc, but they made only 3-of-9 shots in the key.

Most of the inside shots were disrupted by Carson’s three big men – Glass, Brian Jochim and Lee Biddlecome. The trio combined for six blocks, and Glass alone had seven rebounds (four of which were offensive) in the first half.

“We don’t play big. We don’t play strong,” McCreary said. “We allow teams to push us around. That’s got to change if we want to be successful.”

Carson made only 9-of-25 attempts from the field in the first half, but it had a 21-14 advantage on the boards. Holden scored 10 of Carson’s first 16 points.

Douglas, which didn’t commit a turnover in the first half, had six different players score in the first half. Bodenstein scored eight of his nine points off the bench in the first half and drilled a big three-pointer from the left baseline as time expired in the first quarter. Neither team led by more than three points in the first half, which featured four ties and four lead changes.

“We did some things,” McCreary said. “We had some guys hustle and do some things.

“We made some strides offensively in terms of execution,” McCreary added. “We’ve just got to be able to finish.”

Carson got a big break at the end of the half when Keith Benson was fouled while getting a defensive rebound. The officials called the foul as time expired, and Benson made two free throws as the teams cleared the floor.

Douglas took control in the third quarter, making 5-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point land, and holding Carson to a 4-for-12 shooting performance. Carson also went 0-for-7 from the line in the quarter.

Dunbar drilled a three-pointer from the top off a pass from Bruce Jacobsen and Jacobsen nailed a jumper from just inside the top of the arc in the early minutes of the third quarter as Douglas shot out to a 23-30 lead. Chichester scored inside, and Coyne and Warner also made three-pointers in the quarter.

“You should be able to motivate yourself by the love of playing the game,” McCreary said. “There are very few precious moments you get to compete. Your days are numbered as far as high school play goes. You have to strive to be competitive.”