Tiger girls basketball head to Elko
The Douglas High School girls basketball team will have to correct a few things tonight if it hopes to be competitive in its first-round playoff game at Elko.
The Tigers will have to make a respectable percentage of their shots from the foul line and they will have to avoid giving up a big run early in the game. They failed to do both of those things Friday in a 59-49 loss to the visiting Reno Huskies.
But, it’s the “second season” now, a time when anybody can pull off an upset on a given night. But, it’s also do-or-die now. If the Tigers win tonight, then they will be in the Class 4A Northern Zone tournament semifinals and the state tournament. If they lose, then their season will be over.
The Tigers finished the regular season 6-6 (12-13 overall) and in third place in Division II. That’s not bad, especially considering they were 2-4 in league after the first round and outside looking in on the playoff race. They will face the Indians, the No. 2 seed out of Division I, at 7 p.m.
Carson and Reno both finished 11-1 in league and earned a home game for the first round of the playoffs, but the Senators earned the No. 1 seed by virtue of a tie-breaker. Carson will play host to Sparks tonight and Reno will play host to Galena. Wooster, the division’s fourth and final playoff team, will play at McQueen.
If the Tigers win tonight, then they will play in the semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. at Reed.
The Tigers lost a close non-league game to the Indians at home on Dec. 13. Can they win at Elko? Yes. What do they need to do to win? They need to knock down shots early from the perimeter to loosen up the inside and Elko’s possible zone, put their own run together early to quiet what is sure to be an excited crowd and make a few free throws in a row to build a little confidence.
“This is the playoffs. It will be one game, 32 minutes,” Douglas coach Randy Green said. “We need to play intelligently, play hard and give our very best effort. I believe if we give our best effort, they’ll be happy with the result.”
Douglas played hard, well and together in the middle of the first quarter Friday and were pretty happy with how they stood against the mighty Huskies.
Jessica Granat scored off a pass from Tomasa Kizer on an inbound play from under the basket to cut an early deficit to 4-3. Reno extended its lead to 9-3 when Haley Anderson fed Shannon Taylor for an easy basket inside and then drilled a three-pointer from the left wing off a pass from Megan Nunn, but the Tigers quickly responded with a 5-0 run of their own.
Brooke Kizer got an offensive rebound and made 1-of-2 foul shots after getting fouled on the play to get the run started. Rebecca Rippee hit a jumper on the right wing off a pass from Jenny Smokey and Rosie Contri scored on a backdoor play off a nifty pass from Stephanie Combes to end the run.
However, Reno went on a 16-0 run over a 3:13 span bridging the first and second quarters to take control of the game. The Tigers played the Huskies even the rest of the half and went into the lockerroom down 38-21.
Douglas was 8-for-24 from the field and 5-for-14 from the line in the first half while Reno was 16-for-32, including 4-for-10 from three-point range, and 2-for-4, respectively.
Reno extended its lead to 44-21 in the opening two minutes of the third quarter and to 51-29 at the end of the third quarter. Douglas was 5-for-18 from the line through three quarters.
To the Tigers credit, they didn’t give up. In fact, they put together one of their best stretches of the season against the Reno starters in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Douglas went on a 16-0 run of its own over a 5:50 span and cut the lead to 52-45. It scored on five consecutive possessions at the start of the run and forced four consecutive turnovers. Reno didn’t make its only field goal of the fourth quarter until Becky Williams made a layup in transition with 10 seconds left, and it missed nine consecutive free throws during one stretch.
Rippee made two shots from opposite sides of the court early in the run and Granat scored inside twice off of passes from Tomasa Kizer in the middle of the run.
“What I want them to do (tonight) is go in with the same level of confidence and shoot the ball like they did in the fourth quarter (Friday),” Green said.
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