Second-quarter run boosts Tigers
Before taking the court to face arch rival Carson Tuesday night, the Douglas High girls basketball team heard a message from coach Werner Christen.
“I told them this was just another game,” Christen said, adding with a laugh. “I tried to feed them a line of baloney and they didn’t bite. I was trying to calm them down, but they knew this wasn’t just another game.”
The Tigers got past some early jitters and in the end Hailey Hughes scored 19 points and Maddy Lowe 18 as they pulled out a key 60-52 Sierra League victory at Carson’s Morse Burley Gymnasium. A 9-1 run before halftime turned out to be the difference as Douglas (5-6 league, 8-11 overall) moved into sole possession of third-place in the league race, one game ahead of Carson (4-7 league, 7-11 overall).
The Tigers won on a night when they turned the ball over 27 times and only shot 21-for-43 from the free throw line.
“Typical rivalry game,” Christen said. “I thought we won the game late in the second quarter when we went on that run. That really was the only run of the game; that was the difference.”
The score was tied on four occasions — 13-13 at the end of the first quarter — before Douglas took the lead for good with a 9-1 run late over a span of two minutes late in the second quarter. First, Hughes sank a pair of free throws to break a 19-all tie. Lowe scored on a drive, Janae Blue Horse took a pass from Madison Rodgers and knocked down a 3-pointer and then Rodgers scored on a follow shot to make it 28-20 with 2:51 left in the second quarter. Terra Williams scored on a drive, then Blue Horse batted a loose ball away to teammate Kaycee Battcher for a takeaway that led to a pair of Lowe free throws as the Tigers pushed their lead to double digits.
“Our second group … Battcher, (Payson) Coverley, (Sarah) Carter, Williams … they came in and did a phenomenal job during that stretch,” Christen said. “Payson came in and handled some different defensive roles and just did a lot of little things well.”
Carson coach Melissa Larsen felt that stretch was the game’s pivotal point.
“We stopped playing defense and let them get away from us,” Larsen said. “I thought in the second half we came out and played with fire. We were attacking and we never gave up.”
Hughes, a 6-foot freshman who had missed the previous game due to a bout with flu, had 12 points in the first half as the Tigers took a 32-22 lead at the intermission.
Carson pulled to within six points on three occasions in the fourth quarter. The Tigers turned back the comeback bid, however, as Hughes scored three points in the final 3:41, while Williams and Blue Horse added two free throws each and Battcher one free throw down the stretch. Williams finished with eight points.
Senior guard Melissa Glanzmann and freshman Hailey Garver scored 14 points each for the Senators, while Brianna Alvarado had 13 and Mallory Otto nine. Garver grabbed 10 rebounds, four on the offensive end, and converted a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
“We had our opportunities, we just weren’t able to take advantage of them,” Larsen said. “We had too many turnovers and fouls. And that’s something we’re working on. We need to be mindful of fouls and boxing out.”
The Senators also had 27 turnovers and committed 29 fouls.
“I thought both teams were tight early in the game,” Christen said. “Give them credit, they played hard. She (Larsen) had a good game play and they played hard.”
Douglas played without starting point guard Alexa Moss, who previously missed the second half of last Friday’s game against Damonte Ranch with an injury.