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Tigers tip off season Tuesday; Douglas boys travel to Galena

by Chuck Smock, sports editor

The Douglas boys will open the basketball season with a road game at Galena on Tuesday.

In reality, however, the 2000-01 season started last summer for the Tigers.

For the second consecutive year, Douglas head coach Keith Lewis oversaw a summer program for players interested in fine-tuning their basketball skills in the offseason.

Lewis estimated that 60 to 70 players from 5th grade through the varsity level participated in the open-gym workouts. The older players even traveled to compete in tournaments as far away as Spokane, Wash.

“I’ve been thrilled with the commitment in the offseason,” the third-year coach said. “That’s the one stride I really feel like we’ve made as a program. The kids are enjoying it. It’s not like they’re feeling like it’s a job to come here.”

Lewis took 21 prospective varsity and junior varsity players on the trip to Spokane. The Tigers participated in the Gonzaga University team camp and played in Hoop Fest, a three-on-three tournament that featured more than 5,000 teams. Next year, Lewis plans to take a group of freshman players to Spokane along with the JV and varsity players.

“I think the Spokane experience, when we look back at it, will be something that sustains us this season,” he said.

The Tigers are in for a good test Tuesday at Galena, where tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The Grizzlies are led by Joe Heaton, a 6-3 junior who was named second team all-Conference last season as a sophomore, and senior guard Sam Sikes, an honorable mention all-Conference selection last year.

Douglas’ 11-player rosters includes only three players with varsity experience. Lewis said he and assistant coaches Randy Green, JoJo Townsell and Craig Kizer have spent the first two weeks of the season focusing on conditioning.

“We’re working them really hard,” Lewis said. “As a coach, I want to see them go 100 miles an hour at all times. I know in my heart we’re getting better. The kids are working hard and we’re asking a lot from them.

“We’re going into the season with the philosophy that no one is going to be in better shape than we are.”

Seniors Rob Honer and Jared Kenison were selected as team captains.

DHS girls play host to Grizzlies

by Chuck Smock

There will be a reunion, of sorts, on Tuesday when the defending state champion Galena Grizzlies come to town to play the Douglas girls in the first game of the Northern 4A basketball season for both squads.

Players on both teams will see plenty of familiar faces on the other side of the court, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a hugs-and-kisses affair.

With multi-sport athletes up and down both benches – and lots of recent big-game history between the two schools – Douglas and Galena each will be looking to dispose of a familiar foe and jump start a run at a possible Region tournament berth.

“The kids all know each other,” Douglas head coach Werner Christen said. “It seems like the Douglas and Galena kids have always been close. It’s a friendly rivalry, but you always like to beat your friends.”

Eight of the 12 Tigers will have that added incentive Tuesday.

Andrea Honer, Emily Haas and Lindsey Rollins, members of the Douglas volleyball team that finished second at the Region and State tournaments earlier this month, saw Galena senior forward Kellie Burton and sophomore guard Joanna Hixon two weeks ago when the Tigers beat the Grizzlies on their home court in the semifinals at the NIAA/U.S. Bank State volleyball tournament. A week earlier, Douglas defeated Galena in the semifinals of the Region tournament.

Amber Gwinn and Mallory Moore, who helped the DHS girls win their first Region soccer championship on Nov. 4, will get the chance to become reacquainted with senior guard Annie Baxter on Tuesday. Baxter might be looking for revenge. Douglas beat Galena in the Region semifinals, denying the Grizzlies the chance to defend the title they won on 1999.

Tarrah Kizer, Lindsay Knox and Rollins all played on the DHS softball team that earned a trip to the State tournament last spring. Guard Jenn Molinari is a star pitcher for the Galena softball team. Molinari has bragging rights here, however, because she and the Grizzlies eliminated the Tigers from last year’s Zone tournament with an 8-1 win in the losers’ bracket final after both teams had already qualified for the State tournament.

And Douglas senior Kristen Garzapena was the No. 2 singles player on the Douglas tennis team that defeated Galena for the first time ever in the first round of the Region tournament.

Tuesday’s game comes just two weeks after the first day of tryouts. And, with only three seniors on his 12-player roster, Christen said he and assistant coach Andy Hughes are excited how their young team responds in its first game.

“We have a lot of youth and enthusiasm,” Christen said. “They’re already becoming a team and that’s something that’s very unusual this early.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty deep team. I think we’ll be able to go nine or 10 deep, but you can’t really tell until they’re out there in a game situation.”

One Tigers’ lineup could feature four players in the 5-foot-10 range and the 5-8 Honer at point guard. Christen can also go small if he wants to, sending five speedy guards in to play up-tempo offense and high-pressure defense.

“We can be huge and we have some nice quickness with the guards,” Christen said. “We’re going to experiment with different lineups to see what works. That’s what December is for. We need to get ready for January in December.”

its defitnly a real, real tight bunch.

they’re always together. thyre’ really close an di think that has to do with the youth.

all 12

its been real fun

we have alot of teahcing to do. we’re not anywher close to having in what we need

defense mostly

do some thing deiifernt this year

play different zone defense

to take advantga of our height

“We’re going to be big and young,” Christen said. “We’re going to look great coming off the bus.”

ist seems like very day in practive some else stands out

karen is an excelltn coach and she hads a good enough nucles to fill in the blanks and win it again.

its an early measuring stick. we see where were at

thgeyre’ not going to be anywhere near playing the way they’ll be playing later int he year

rustiness.