Stepping into new roles |

Stepping into new roles

by Carter Eckl
Douglas High's Cameron Swain goes up for a layup last season. Swain and the Tighers tipped off the 2019-2020 season Tuesday with a win over Hug.
File photo

After a tough start last season, Douglas High boys basketball kicked off its 2019-2020 campaign with a win after taking down Hug 57-37 Tuesday night.

It’s a quick start for the Tigers, who are entering a year where they will be looking to replace plenty of production after graduating nine seniors from a 9-18 team last season.

Corey Thacker, who has been the head coach at Douglas since 2007, expects the Tigers to push the tempo even more this season after a good chunk of their height left with the previous senior class.

Douglas will have five seniors this season accompanied by a large junior class.

Also on the varsity roster this year are sophomores Christopher Smalley and Dakota Jones as well as 6-foot-3 freshman Ben Schinzing.

“He’s a very smart kid and his basketball IQ is there,” said Thacker of Schinzing. “Just smart guys who I think can come along and challenge our older dudes.”

This season’s expectations

With a new season underway, Douglas already has some live action under its belt, but Thacker admits the team will be smaller in size than in year’s past.

“This year we’re a lot shorter than we have been in the past,” said Thacker. “We’ve always been a team that wants to run a lot so we’ll continue that. Being a full-court team all the time is our ultimate goal.”

When working in the halfcourt, Thacker said the Tigers will run a four-out or five-out motion offense designed to continue to force defenses to try to keep up.

The Tigers’ goal is to use their defense to create offense, including pressing teams the length of the floor.

Even if Douglas opts to sink back, Thacker still plans to extend his man-to-man defense into the backcourt to try to wear down teams.

With only four returning players who saw time on varsity last year, the 13th-year head coach wants the newcomers to play with as much energy as possible.

Christopher Thacker, Camden Brown and Hunter Hughes were all names Thacker expects to be playing consistent minutes or competing for a spot on the floor.

Douglas Hostler is also expected to make an impact this season after not playing last year for the Tigers.

“It’s going to be who wants to step up and fill those spots,” added Thacker.

Sierra League outlook

After posting a 6-4 record in the Sierra League last season and making it to the first round of regional play, the Tigers are expecting to be back in a similar situation this season.

“We want to make sure we get to the playoffs,” said Thacker, who added the Tigers have yet to miss the postseason under his tenure.

Thacker thinks Galena will be the frontrunner in league play this year followed closely by Bishop Manogue, Damonte Ranch and, of course, Douglas.

“It’s going to be a battle every night in our league so that will be fun,” said Thacker.

Douglas will tip-off in league play Jan. 14 at home against Wooster and will continue through the Sierra League gauntlet until the regular season finale at Carson on Feb. 14.