The Douglas High boys basketball team took another large step forward toward clinching its second consecutive league title Tuesday night, defeating a scrappy McQueen squad 63-45 in Minden.
The magic number for the Tigers to clinch is now set at one win in the remaining three games. Douglas also extended its win streak to 10 games, improving to 12-1 in Northern 4A action this season.
Douglas fought through slow start during which McQueen built a 7-5 lead over the first four minutes of the game. The Tigers answered with a 15-0 run that extended through the first two minutes of the second quarter.
McQueen wasn't prepared to fold facing the 20-7 deficit, though, and slowly chipped its way back into the game with its physical style of play.
The Lancers outscored Douglas 15-7 through the remainder of the half to cut the halftime score to 27-22.
"Their physicality got to us," Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. "They got after us and we started just catching the ball and holding it there. It's a credit to McQueen, they stuck with us for most of the game. They are by far the most underrated team in Northern Nevada.
"Their record just doesn't tell the whole story."
While the Lancers found ways to keep the game relatively close, the Tigers did a masterful job containing McQueen's leading scorer, Kody Eckert, who finished with eight points and one 3-pointer.
"We talked a lot heading into this week about defending him," Thacker said. "They love to run him off screens and they really make you pay with it.
"We talked a lot about everyone staying on him, every kid out there had a responsibility to stick with him on the help defense. The kids did their best to just get a hand in his way. He still got some open looks too, a lot of their shooters did, but fortunately for us they just weren't really falling tonight."
The Lancers kept their momentum going to start the third quarter, turning the five-point deficit into a 34-33 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the period.
Douglas' big men -- James Herrick and Hunter Myers -- came alive, though, scoring nine of the team's next 13 points as the Tigers went up 46-38 with 6:31 remaining in the game.
Herrick finished with a game-high 17 points, continuing his midseason breakout, while Myers had 15 points.
The Lancers cut the score back down to a five-point difference with 5:44 remaining, but would get no closer as they were held without a field goal for the balance of the game.
Joe Syammach launched a 9-0 run with a driving lay-up and Douglas outscored McQueen 20-7 in the fourth quarter.
Pat Johnson scored seven points for Douglas, Jaden Mustacchio had five, Syammach and Nolting each had four, Austin Evans, AJ Pfaffenberger and Jaden Wass each had three and David Ogles had one to round out the scoring for Douglas.
The Tigers travel to Manogue Friday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
The Douglas girls basketball team prevailed in a back-and-forth battle with McQueen Tuesday night in Minden, winning 55-44.
"We were happy with the way the kids closed out the game," Douglas coach Werner Christen said. "McQueen got a little run going on us late in the game and there was a point where they probably could have grabbed a lead and ran with it.
"Our girls responded though. They found a way to get it done and we were real proud of them."
Douglas had led since the midpoint of the second quarter, stretching the lead out to to as many as 12 points, but the Lancers managed to close it back down to three with 4:44 remaining.
The Tigers shut the door from there, though, finishing the game on a 10-2 run.
Diana Regalado led the Tigers with 21 points. Desiree Cage added 14, Corryne Millett had eight, McKenna Kynett had six and Ericka Munoz, Maddy Lowe and Katie McCullough each had two.
Christen noted Lowe's basket in particular, as it launched the game-sealing run.