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Tigers basketball has depth, coach says

by Chuck Smock

Keith Lewis considers himself fortunate as he begins his first season as the Tigers’ head basketball coach.

Fortunate to be a 27-year-old head coach of a quality 4A basketball program. And fortunate to have four returning starters and the first two players off the bench from last season to work with.

“What a great situation to walk into,” Lewis said. “Usually, you come into a situation like this and you expect to find the cupboard bare. We have six of our top seven players back and some kids coming up from the JV who are going to get some substantial playing time.

“We have depth at every position. At some positions, we have three guys who will see substantial playing time.”

The four returning senior starters will be counted on for leadership early in the season, Lewis said. Jimmy Coyne (6-foot-3, forward), John Dunbar (5-11, point guard), Greg Bodenstein (6-3, post) and Bruce Jacobsen (6-2, guard) will lead a veteran group that features eight seniors on its roster.

Dunbar earned first-team all-division and second-team all-league honors last season. Coyne was named to the all-division second team and Jacobsen picked up an honorable mention all-division award.

Seniors Chad Cooke (5-10, guard) and Matt Thomas (6-4, post) contributed valuable minutes off the bench last season.

Lewis also has four guards up from last year’s junior varsity. Juniors Adam Moore and Kyle Baker and sophomores Seth Lee and Tim McDonnel give the Tigers plenty of depth in the backcourt, as will junior Taylor Cohee, who recently transferred to Douglas from a high school in the Bay area.

“It’s a good group,” Lewis said. “I’ve been impressed with the leadership of the returning kids. We just have to go out and play as a team and good things will happen.”

Lewis worked as the varsity assistant coach for former head coach Aubrey McCreary for the past two seasons. He credits McCreary with developing a tradition for playing tough defense at Douglas, and vows to continue teaching the same philosophies.

“Douglas has always been known for defense,” he said. “Aubrey did a great job instilling a defensive attitude.

“Playing defense takes effort and you have to take it personally when someone scores on you. These players have that attitude. They just need to maintain it for 32 minutes every night.”

Kurt Lundergreen will serve as Lewis’ varsity assistant coach this season. Phil Emm, Jo Jo Townsell and Craig Kizer have all volunteered to help Lewis coach the Tigers.

“One of my main goals is to surround myself with good people,” Lewis said. “I think I’ve done that with these guys. They’ve been a big help.”

Offensively, the Tigers have been working on a half-court game that puts a premium on moving without the ball and shooting from the perimeter. Douglas won’t be content to walk the ball up the court all season, however.

“We’re going to try to play more up-tempo offense,” said Lewis, who added that the Tigers will look to push the ball to try to create easy scoring opportunities in transition. “We have kids who can run and we need to utilize that.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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