R-C Sports Notebook: Eye-opening week
Last week was a week I’d had circled on my calendar since before the basketball season began.
I figured, with Douglas seeing two of the best programs in the area consecutively – followed by a game at rival Carson – it was going to tell us everything we needed to know about how this season will play out.
The week lived up to its billing, for me at least. There were plenty of lessons to glean, so I’ll just list what I saw:
– No one in the region can fully match up defensively with Douglas’ front court, although Manogue’s D.K. White did a pretty good job of it. If the Tigers get a couple calls inside during that first half Friday night, I think you’re looking at a very different outcome.
– One team shooting 40 free throws is rare in a high school game. One team shooting 22 free throws in a half, the first half no less, is unheard of. The fact that Manogue made 31 of those 40 shots didn’t help any, but it’s unlikely they’ll get to the line that often when the teams meet again. You take all free throws out of the equation and Douglas holds a 59-48 advantage in the game.
– Douglas’ 68 points is the most Manogue has given up to a Northern 4A this season.
– Manogue can shoot like few teams I’ve seen in my 10 years covering prep sports in Northern Nevada. What they, particularly Ethan Dillard (state 4A record 19-of-20 for the game and 13-of-14 in the second quarter) did at the free throw line on Friday night is an impressive a single facet of a game as I have seen.
– Douglas, particularly Theo Denson, plays outstanding assignment defense. The Tigers target a team’s leading scorer and basically shut them down. Dillard is Manogue’s leading scorer. He finished with 26 points, but had only three field goals in the game. Carson’s Brian Barnes had 10 points, most of which came in the fourth quarter with the Douglas starters off the floor. And McQueen’s Joe Saarem went scoreless. Even with the varying point totals, the stats show it’s exceptionally hard for a playmaker to get open looks against the Tiger defense. Credit Dillard for finding ways to get to the hoop and draw the foul.
– Douglas and Manogue will meet two more times this season. I’m almost certain of it. Neither one of those games will be in the Manogue gym. We’ll see how it goes.
– I’m very curious to see Hug this week. I think it quietly be an even better game than Douglas-Manogue last week.
– Friday nights are far superior to Saturdays in high school basketball. The Carson-Douglas game was as quiet as I’ve seen it since I’ve been down here. Normally that matchup, both in Minden and in Carson, is electric. Someone pulled the plug on Saturday. Thankfully, the next meeting is on a Friday.
– I kept thinking Tuesday night that McQueen is just one player away from being dominant. Then I kept looking at the Lancer bench and seeing Rollins Stallworth out with a knee injury. The RGJ is reporting he may or may not miss the rest of that year with the injury. For sheer competition sake, I hope he makes it back.
1. Manogue (Record: 12-4 overall. Previous Ranking : 1.)
Why they should be No. 1: It’s Manogue and Douglas right now. Not many people are going to argue with that. Manogue won Round 1. No one is going to argue with that either.
2. Douglas (Record: 12-3 overall. Previous ranking: 2.)
Why they should be ranked higher: Field goals: Douglas 21, Manogue 19. 3-pointers: Douglas 8, Manogue 6. Second half: Douglas 40, Manogue 39.
3. Hug (Record 11-1 overall. Previous Ranking: 3.)
Why they should be ranked higher: Douglas lost to Manogue by 11. Hug lost by 12. Tough to make an argument at this point, but the Hawks are putting up some big numbers on offense. Defensively, though, they’ve given up 50-plus seven times in 11 games. We’ll know more Friday.
4. McQueen (Record 7-6 overall. Previous Ranking: 4.)
Why they should be ranked higher: The Lancers could be a potential giant killer if they could just get to 100 percent. If they’re healed up when the playoffs roll around, this is one team I wouldn’t want to see if I were a coach.
5. Reno (Record: 5-6 overall. Previous Ranking: 5.)
Why they should be ranked higher: It’s tough to make an argument for anyone outside of the top four right now as only Spanish Springs has a winning overall record. Reno’s defense, though, could be just enough to slow one of the big guns down in the playoffs.
Why they should be No. 1: Reed beats Reno by 30. Enough said.
Why they should be ranked higher: Based on Saturday, this is as high as the Huskies can go right now.
Why they should be ranked higher: Manogue has a lot of weapons and some sharp shooters outside. Their lone Northern 4A loss is to Reno, so again, can’t be ranked much higher.
Why they should be ranked higher: Galena picked up a solid win against Spanish Springs last week. With the new league format, they could still claim the Sierra League title with a win over Manogue after the Miners run the Reed gauntlet.
Why they should be ranked higher: The Senators have a solid club and could give Manogue a run this week with a solid defensive effort.
– I get it. The SEC is the greatest football conference ever. It has been the greatest football conference since … what, the last five years?
I’m not arguing that they aren’t the best conference now. Because they are.
But Auburn only beat Oregon with a last-second field goal (and by the way, if I’m an Oregon coach, I’m calling the NCAA this week to ask what the definition of a down player is exactly.). It’s not like Auburn ran away with the game. For that matter, Texas nearly stole one away from Alabama last year.
However, five consecutive titles is six consecutive titles. It’s impressive. It says a ton about the level of competition within the conference.
But the lovefest the collective sports media is pouring on the conference this week is a little gag-inducing. You don’t think every coach from every other BCS conference out there isn’t steaming over this? This is the type of bulletin board material that feeds motivation.
Sports flow in cycles and eventually, everything rolls over. How long is it going to be, do you think, before the SEC schools start falling under NCAA sanctions again. Auburn, after the Cam Newton fiasco earlier this season, can’t be far away (And while we’re on the subject, why is it so hard to believe the school was involved in anything under the table? This is the same school, remember, that has been under NCAA probation for player payment schemes in the early 1990s. The sanctions were so harsh the team couldn’t even be on television for one season. How come no one has pursued that angle? Players and coaches move on. Boosters don’t).
Either way, let’s look at the last 15 years by conference before the SEC’s “rise” to prominence, just as an example. They read like this: ACC; ACC/Pac10; SEC; ACC; ACC; Big 12; Big 12; Big 12; SEC; Big 10/Big 12; SEC; ACC; Big 12; Big East; Big 10; SEC/Pac-10; Pac-10; Big 12.
I see a pretty impressive stretch for the ACC in there at four titles in five years. They are now considered among the lesser of the BCS conferences, even though they’ve since added big-name programs like Miami and Virginia Tech.
I also see a nice run for the Big 12 in there, with four in five years as well. They’re about to lose the winner of three of those titles to the Big 10.
Sports run in cycles. I can’t see the SEC continuing this streak, probably not even past next year. Then we’ll all be talking about the fall of the SEC. But I could be wrong.