Time to hoop it up at Douglas | RecordCourier.com

Time to hoop it up at Douglas

by Dave Price, Staff Writer

One letter pretty much sums up the status of the Douglas High School boys basketball team right now. That’s the letter U — for uptempo and unknown.

And while they may be young, relatively inexperienced and lacking in size, coach Keith Lewis also happens to be upbeat about the prospects of the Tigers as they head into their season opener today with a 5 p.m. game against Spanish Springs in Sparks.

The Tigers have some big shoes to fill after last season, when they went 10-16 overall (6-6 Sierra League) and finished a hard-fought 65-60 loss against High Desert League champion Reed in the first round of the Northern 4A Regional Tournament. All-league players Erik Olson, Will Thomas and Travis Baker have graduated, which puts Lewis in the position of having to reload for the 2002-03 season.

Never mind. The fifth-year Douglas coach thinks he has some pretty good bullets.

“We’re pretty young, so it’ll be a challenge, but we had a successful JV year and I think we’re going to be kind of a sleeper,” Lewis said. “We just have kids people haven’t heard a whole lot about yet. But if we’re doing our job, then people will hear about them soon … we hope.”

Junior guards Luke Rippee and Andy McIntosh are the only players who return with any extensive varsity experience (Rippee is entering his third varsity season). The team roster includes three seniors, nine juniors and three sophomores.

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“We want to push it up a notch,” Lewis said. “We’re carrying 15 guys and we’re going to be running guys in and out. That’s how we’re going to get kids in, to play very uptempo and just bring waves at you. Hopefully, by the fourth quarter, we’re going to be the team with the legs left and put ourselves in the position of being able to win games down the stretch.

“In this case, we’re not going to be so concerned about who’s starting games as we are about who’s finishing the games. And that’s going to be different from night to night. There’s going to be guys step up on one night and maybe not play as much the next night. We’ll go with the hot hand and I think you’ve got to do that with the depth we’ve got.”

The Tigers need to play at a fast pace to compensate for lack of height. Tyler Hales, a 6-foot-4 senior, is the tallest player on the team. After that, the Tigers have 6-3 senior Ryan Waffird, 6-3 junior Chris Honer and 6-2 junior Anthony Walter.

“We definitely want to play uptempo, but we want to play smart uptempo,” Lewis said. “I think that’s going to be the key for us, too. Being able to