‘Showtime’ for Tigers
On a night when Douglas High School celebrated its winter homecoming Friday, the Tigers’ boys basketball team also celebrated its own version of “Showtime” Friday against Wooster. The Tigers ran off 11 unanswered points during a span of four-and-a-half minutes in the fourth quarter as they pulled away to an important 54-38 victory at Randy Green Court.
James Herrick scored 15 points, including a fast break dunk at the outset of the fourth quarter that gave Douglas (10-7 overall, 6-4 league) a 41-31 lead. Austin Evans also scored 12, including a trio of 3-pointers, to help the Tigers stay within striking distance of first-place in the Sierra League standings.
“We finally decided to get focused and really start playing,” coach Corey Thacker said of the Tigers’ fourth-quarter surge.
Douglas led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter before Wooster (2-16, 0-10) rallied to pull within 39-31 at the end of the period.
Then it was “Showtime” for the Tigers. And it all started on the defensive end when Pat Johnson picked off a pass, took the ball down the right side and whipped a behind-the-back pass to the 6-foot-10 Herrick for a dunk.
“Pat had a great pass,” Herrick said. “He definitely set it up — it was all him — and luckily I was able to grab it.”
Johnson, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, was just as quick to return the compliment.
“It was just kind of an in-the-moment thing,” said Johnson, who dished out three assists during the game-breaking run. “It was a good catch more than anything.”
The play seemed to provide the spark the Tigers had waited for to pull away from the scrappy Colts.
“I thought it was great for our team and for the fans,” Herrick said. “It created a lot of energy in the gym … and we were on our way.”
Evans hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, assisted by Sam Broersma, to make it 46-36. Another fast break resulted in Evans slapping the ball downcourt to Johnson, who took the ball in stride and fed Alex Tessmann for the breakaway layup. Moments later, Johnson split the defense with a pass to Tessmann underneath the basket for another layup. Then, Johnson and Tessmann collaborated on another takeaway that led to a Trey Maurer layup to extend the Tigers’ lead to 52-36 with 3:50 remaining.
Tessman also contributed 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Johnson finished with 7 points to go with 6 assists. Herrick had 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Wooster was led by sophomore Isaac Zinnerman with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. The Colts scored 24 of their 38 points from beyond the arc.
“We’ve got to be able to cover that 3-point line,” Thacker said.
For the Tigers, Friday marked a good comeback from Tuesday’s 54-52 overtime loss at Carson. Now, they are looking to build momentum for the home stretch of the season.
“This was big for us,” Johnson said. “Coming off the loss, this was kind of a statement to everyone that we’re not going to back down. We’re building … and it starts here … we want to try and peak for the playoffs.”