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Tigers fall short against Huskies

Douglas senior Zach Kellar dishes off a pass to a teammate against Reno Saturday at Randy Green Court. The Tigers lost to the Huskies, 59-53.

With a 3-1 record to show for its December Northern Division I crossover schedule, the Douglas High boys basketball team is currently sitting in a pretty good position.

Douglas (4-4 overall, 3-1 Sierra League) took over first-place Friday night with a 73-41 victory at Reed, only to take a step back Saturday in a 59-53 defeat against Reno at Randy Green Court. Even so, the Tigers are right in the thick of what promises to be a highly competitive Sierra League playoff race.

On Saturday, Reno scored 10 unanswered points over a span of 64 seconds late in the second quarter to take a lead it never relinquished in a matchup between High Desert and Sierra league leaders.

“It’s disappointing when you have 29 turnovers and give up 16 offensive rebounds,” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. “You’re not going to win many games that way.”

Reno (6-4, 3-0) led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter and then held off a late comeback in which the Tigers pulled to within 53-50 and 55-52 in the final 1:01.

Nine players reached the score column for the Tigers, who enjoyed an 18-16 field goal advantage over Reno. Jace Hart led the way with 11 points, five of which came in the final 1:37.

One key to this game was free throwing shooting. The Huskies shot 23-for-37 from the line and the Tigers 12-for-14.

Another key was that second quarter run when the Huskies turned a 25-24 deficit into a 34-25 lead with 2:06 left in the second quarter.

The lead changed hands three times in the second quarter and Douglas took a 25-24 lead with 3:10 showing on the clock after a sequence in which Dalton Davis took a charge and then grabbed an offensive rebound that kept the ball alive for Josh Meza’s 3-pointer, assisted by Tanner Williams.

Reno answered with a 3-pointer of its own almost immediately as Drew Rippingham connected from the top of the key, assisted by Alex Tsaniff. Rippingham capped the 10-0 run with another Tsaniff-assisted bomb, this time from the left corner.

“That was a huge run,” Thacker said. “We just had turnover after turnover. If we take care of the ball there, it would have been a different game.

“But give them credit,” the coach added of the Huskies. “They do a good job of putting pressure on the ball and they use their big guys well.”

Karn Goraya scored a game-high 15 points, including four key free throws in the final minute, to lead the Huskies offensively. Rippingham and Tsaniff scored nine each, while 6-foot-6 seniors David Kyle and Mike Heydon added seven each.

For Douglas, Michael Johnson scored nine points and Dylan Hinks seven. Williams contributed five assists.

The Tigers trailed 52-39 when Johnson scored on a drive and Zach Kellar knocked down a 3-pointer off an assist from Hart to spark the late rally. Hinks and Hart scored on putbacks then Williams sank a pair of free throws and Douglas was suddenly back to within 53-50. Hart added two more free throws to make it 55-52 with 37.8 seconds left to play, however, that was as close as the Tigers would come.

“To come back like we did and still have a chance at the end … that shows what we can do,” Thacker said.

On Friday, the Tigers raced to a 30-18 lead and never looked back against the Reed Raiders. Johnson scored 18 points, Williams 13 and Davis 12 to lead the Douglas attack.

“We still have to keep getting better,” Thacker said. “And if we can do that, I think we have a very solid chance to be there at the end.”