Tigers brace for second half of season
At the halfway point of the 2000 Division II season, the Douglas girls’ basketball team was in a remarkably similar situation to a year ago.
The Tigers were hovering around the .500 mark, hoping to make the zone playoffs while trying to avoid the fourth-place spot and a first-round zone tournament game against the Division I champ.
Last year, the Tigers won six consecutive Division II games to close out the regular season and earn the third seed in the playoffs.
They probably won’t have to win out to make the playoffs this year, but they also can’t afford more than a loss or two if they want to play someone other than Galena (4-0 in Division I, 20-3 overall) in the first round of the zone tournament.
The push to the playoffs starts this week with three division games. The Tigers played host to South Tahoe, whom they defeated in a physical showdown in the first half of the season, Tuesday night.
Douglas will travel to Carson on Friday to try to avenge an 18-point loss of two weeks ago. On Saturday, the Tigers will try to complete the two-game sweep of the Wooster Colts in Reno.
“We have to win at least two out of three this week to have a chance going into the last two weeks of the season,” Douglas head coach Werner Christen said. “After Reno and Carson it (the Division II race) is a mess.”
Reno, which defeated Douglas, 65-42, Friday night, was 6-1 in Division II play coming into this week. Carson was 4-1. Douglas, Fallon and South Tahoe were all tied for third place at 3-3. And Wooster, the only team to beat Reno, was 2-3. Only Hug (0-7) is out of the playoff picture.
Douglas assistant coach Allen Gosselin said the Tigers have their sights set on duplicating the accomplishment of last year’s team.
“Hopefully, we’ll win our last six and go in (to the playoffs) higher than the fourth seed,” he said. “The first thing it getting to zone. We can beat anybody on any night. Unfortunately, anyone can beat us.
“We showed last year that February is the month that matters.”
And, just like last year, the Tigers will have to finish the season without post player Jessica Granat, who reinjured her right knee against Hug last Saturday.
Senior guard Stephanie Combes injured her right knee against Reno and missed Tuesday’s game with South Tahoe. She said on Monday that she hopes to be back in the lineup for Friday’s game with Carson.
The loss of Granat and the questionable status of Combes likely will force the Douglas coaches to use a smaller lineup this week. The Tigers also will probably play more man-to-man pressure defense and will have to be more deliberate on offense.
“We played our best zone (defense) when we had our big people in there,” Christen explained.