Cougars edge past Tigers |

Cougars edge past Tigers

Michael Johnson

One key to success for the Douglas High boys basketball team coming into its game at home against Spanish Springs Tuesday night was to contain Marcus Loadholt.

After a relatively quiet first half in which he scored seven points, however, the Cougars’ returning first-team all-region guard broke loose to score 14 after the intermission to help Spanish Springs pull out a 69-63 Northern Division I crossover victory over the Tigers at Randy Green Court.

The game was similar to the region tournament opener Douglas played at Spanish Springs last February, a game the Cougars won 46-41 on a night when no more than eight points ever separated the two teams. In Tuesday’s rematch, once again, there was never a gap of more than eight points (Spanish Springs led 45-37 with 3:26 left in the third quarter).

Douglas (4-9 overall, 3-2 league) battled the defending High Desert League champion Cougars to the wire as senior guard Michael Johnson scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Zach Kellar also scored 13 for the Tigers.

It just wasn’t enough to offset a Spanish Springs (7-6 overall, 3-2 league) team that shot 54 percent from the field (22-for-41) and converted 19 of 31 free throws. Loadholt, a 6-foot-3 junior who is averaging 20.8 points per game this season, shot 7-for-9 from the field and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Loadholt’s final 3-pointer came at the outset of the fourth quarter to give the Cougars a 53-47 lead. Douglas pulled to within 62-59 on back-to-back jumpers by Johnson, however, that was as close as the Tigers would get.

Bryce Delong also scored 14 points, Josh Prizina 12 and Ryan Anderson 11 for Spanish Springs.

Johnson and Jace Hart collected seven and six rebounds to lead an effort in which the Tigers enjoyed a 28-21 advantage under the glass overall.

Hart scored eight points for Douglas, while Tre Jackson contributed seven points and three steals. Jackson converted two of those steals into two free throws that tied the score at 11-all and a breakaway layup that gave the Tigers a 23-20 lead.

Douglas led by as many as seven points after Kellar sank a 3-pointer from the left side, off an assist from Jordan Warren, to make it 21-14 with 5:00 left in the second quarter. The Cougars led 31-27 at halftime.

Douglas returns to action tonight for its final crossover game against Hug in Reno. Four teams are leading playoff contenders coming into tonight — Carson (4-0), Bishop Manogue (3-1), Douglas (3-2) and Galena (3-2).