Olson’s debut is smashing success
December 2, 2003
Keith Olson admitted to having butterflies before his first varsity basketball game, but once the game started he played with the aplomb of a senior.
Olson, Douglas High’s much-heralded 6-foot-9 freshman center, scored 18 points, pulled down five rebounds and blocked two shots to lead the Tigers to a resounding 73-28 win over Fallon in the season-opener for both teams Monday night in Minden.
“I was pretty nervous before the game,” said Olson, who last year at this time was terrorizing eighth-grade players as a member of Carson Valley Middle School’s basketball squad. “Once I got out there and got in the flow of the game, I was fine. We played great.
“I know there is a strong enough base around me. I know that if I don’t score, they will back me up. Guys like Nick (Summers), Eric (Emm) and Luke (Rippee) can shoot from the outside.”
Olson was aggressive throughout the game, shooting 8-for-9 from the field unofficially. All of his baskets came from within five feet of the hoop, as Fallon had no answer for him defensively.
“I thought it was a great debut,” Douglas coach Keith Lewis said. “You couldn’t have written a better script for a kid that came into the game with so much hype. He didn’t play like he was nervous.
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“The first time he touched the ball he attacked the basket. Our guards did a good job of getting him the ball.”
Olson impressed his veteran teammates, including point guard Nick Summers.
“It was a good debut for him,” Summers said. “He played well. People are putting pressure on him, but he came out and played well. We’ve never had a big person in the middle.”
Olson said the pace of the game wasn’t a problem, though he admitted that he got tired in one stretch of the game.
“I played a lot in the summer, and I got used to playing at that pace,” Olson said. “It (last night) was just like another game in that respect.”
The Tigers, in fact, attacked the basket all night against the much-smaller Greenwave. The Tigers hit 33-of-54 from the floor (61.1 percent), and scored probably more points in the paint then they will the rest of the season. Outside shots were an aberration.
“That was a good start,” said Lewis, whose team plays Reed Thursday night at 6:30 in the first round of the NevadaPrep.com Classic in Winnemucca. “I’m pleased all the way across the board. When you come out, you just never know what you’re going to get. One of the big advantages is that we had (almost) everybody returning, and Fallon nobody on their team that played varsity basketball last season, and it showed.
“We got a big lead and still won every quarter, and kept building from there. A lot of the guys played well.”
Lewis played all 11 players that suited up, and they all scored. He got everybody into the game in the first half. Chris Boulware and Pat Sergott sat out because neither has had the required five practices needed since coming out from football.
Leading 4-2, the Tigers scored 16 unanswered points in a span of 5 minutes and 23 seconds.
Chris Honer started the barrage with a layup after making a nice cut to the basket. Olson followed with a layup. Following a Fallon turnover, Andy McIntosh (13 points, 5 rebounds) scored on yet another layup for a 10-2 lead. Layups by Olson and Anthony Walter made it 14-2. Nick Summers broke the layup barrage with an outside jump shot following a Fallon mistake. Summers converted another Fallon mistake into a basket, and Pat Carlson ended the barrage with bucket with 1:25 left.
Fallon’s Laine Whitney scored four straight points to make it 20-6 after the first quarter, which saw Fallon hit only one of eight field-goal attempts and turn the ball over six times.
“The first four possessions we executed everything we wanted,” Lewis said. “We got off to a great start.”
Douglas went on a 10-2 run in the early stages of the second quarter to take a 32-10 lead. Olson started the rally with two free throws and ended it with a layup. Sandwiched in between those points were layups by Summers and McIntosh.
Fallon hit only 2 of 9 from the floor and turned the ball over seven more times.
“We really flew around,” Summers said. “We made a lot of things happen out there on defense.”
A 12-2 run, led by Olson, Luke Rippee and McIntosh helped Douglas boost its lead to 55-18 with about 90 seconds left in the third quarter.
What was impressive about the Tigers’ performance is how well the football players performed with only five days of workouts under their belts.
Besides McIntosh, Summers tallied nine points, Emm five, Rippee four and Tommy Welton two.
“Football is going to pay big dividends,” Lewis said. “They (the seven football players on the squad) are battle tested and they know what it takes to win.