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Tiger girls head to playoffs

by Chuck Smock

The Douglas girls needed a win and a big margin of victory against Wooster on Wednesday to clinch a playoff berth and improve their chances of avoiding the fourth spot in the Northern 4A zone tournament.

The Tigers got a good start on both goals by using aggressive defense to jump out to a 17-6 lead at the end of the first quarter in the DHS gym. They then methodically built their advantage and put away the Colts, 58-41.

The margin of victory was important because of NIAA tie-breaking procedures.

Douglas was in position Friday night to finish as high as second in Division II. Third-place Douglas (7-4) played at league-leading Reno (11-0) Friday night. Carson (8-3), which was in second place in the Division II standings heading into the final game, traveled to play fourth-place Wooster (6-5).

Results from Friday’s game were not available for this issue. For the latest update on the playoff race, call The Record-Courier Sports Line at 782-8278, ext. 213.

The girls’ Northern 4A zone tournament will start Wednesday at the home gyms of the top two seeds in each division. The semifinals and finals will be played at Carson High on Friday and Saturday.

The Tigers had won five consecutive division games going into last night’s showdown with the Huskies, who escaped the first meeting between the two teams with a rebound and a game-winning putback at the buzzer. That performance seemed to wake up a Douglas team that had struggled with consistency.

It took an additional six quarters of basketball, however, for a sense of urgency to set in. An easy win over South Tahoe was followed by a sloppy first half against the Fallon Greenwave.

“It all started in the second half of the Fallon game (on Feb. 2),” Douglas coach Werner Christen said. “The seniors said, ‘Enough of this. We’re stepping up.’ They didn’t want to lose anymore.

“We were down nine points at halftime and we told them they could make up a nine-point deficit easy. You could see it in their eyes that they believed it.”

Douglas suffered a non-league setback to McQueen, 64-55, on Tuesday, but Christen said the loss to the Division I leading Lancers served only to inspire his players.

“We have a chance to play seven more basketball games – that’s more than a third of a season – and these girls love to play,” Christen said. “Their hard work is paying off. The bottom line is they’re a great bunch of kids and it’s good to see them playing well. They deserve what they’re getting now.”

“And we’re still not playing as well as we can,” Assistant coach Allen Gosselin said.

“There you go,” Christen continued. “We missed a lot of easy shots last night.”

And that comment drew assistant coach Danny Hamer into the conversation.

“If these girls play their game for 32 minutes, they can play with any team in the state,” Hamer said.

Against Wooster, Rosie Contri led the Tigers with 12 points, Brooke Kizer added 11, Stephanie Combes and Tomasa Kizer each had nine, and Jenny Smokey added eight.

The Tigers outrebounded the Colts, 47-38. Rebecca Ripped grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Douglas. Brooke Kizer and Tomasa Kizer each pulled down eight boards.

McQueen 64, Douglas 55

Jenny Smokey scored 22 points, including six three-pointers, to keep Douglas close, but her hot shooting wasn’t enough as the Lancers registered a non-league win over Douglas.

“Jenny was hot the whole game, especially in the fourth when she scored 13 points,” said Douglas coach Werner Christen. “She has been averaging around 17 points per game recently – in my opinion, she deserves to be first-team all league.”

Christen said he was encouraged by his team’s play against McQueen, the top team in Division I with a 19-6 overall record. The Lancers’ roster includes Courtney Moore, who is headed to the University of Oregon, and Kate Smith, who will attend Nevada.

“We were never out of the game, but McQueen always seemed to have a six-to-eight point lead on us,” said Christen. “The team showed a lot of energy and flew around the court.”

Other players reaching double figures for the Tigers included Rebecca Rippee with 14 points and Rosie Contri with 13 points.

Junior McKenzie Harrigan led the Lancers with 17, including 10 of her team’s 22 points in the first quarter. McQueen built an early 11-point lead that the Tigers would never overcome.

Douglas 58, Wooster 41

Wooster 6 9 14 12 41

Douglas 17 9 16 16 58

Wooster (6-5, 11-11)

Hackstaff 9 1-4 21, Lazzari 3 1-4 7, Belding 0 2-2 2, Vrtiska 1 2-3 5, Lichenwalder 2 0-0 4, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Totals: 16 6-13 41. Three-pointers: Hackstaff 2, Vrtiska.

Douglas (7-4, 16-10)

Brooke Kizer 4 3-3 11, Rebecca Rippee 3 0-0 6, Stephanie Combes 3 2-3 9, Jenny Smokey 3 1-2 8, Rosie Contri 3 5-6 12, Tomasa Kizer 3 1-3 9, Andrea Honer 1 0-1 3. Totals: 20 12-18 58. Three-pointers: T. Kizer 2, Combes, Smokey, Contri, Honer.

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