SPARKS -- After the first 27 minutes on Wednesday, it looked like the Douglas High girls basketball team would only make a token appearance in the Northern 4A regional playoffs after a three-year absence. Down 42-31 to Galena, the defending zone champions, it didn't looked good for the Tigers.
"We told the girls in the timeout that we've scored in bunches before," said Douglas coach Werner Christen, who immediately called a timeout after Aimee Hawkins three-point play with 5:11 remaining nearly seemed to have put the game away for the Grizzlies. "They way we were playing at the time, you just gotta' tell them that, make them believe."
Even if Christen didn't fully believe his own words, his players sure did. Douglas ended the game on an 11-0 run to force overtime. Once there, the Tigers dominated as they advanced to Friday night's semifinals with a 53-45 win at Spanish Springs.
Douglas (22-5) outscored Galena 22-4 over the final 10 minutes of the game, something Christen didn't expect, especially because the Grizzlies' Joanna Hixon was still in the game. Hixon scored a team-high 15 points, but fouled in overtime.
It wouldn't have mattered, though, if she was in the game. Although it took awhile, the Tigers finally looked like the team that has now won a school record 22 games, the most since the 1983. That team won 18 games and was the last Douglas team to make the state tournament. If they can find a way to beat Fallon on Friday night, the Tigers will return again to the state tournament.
"We just didn't play well early on. We looked like a team that hasn't been in the playoffs for three years," Christen said. "In the first three quarters, we were tight as drums. We just wanted to loosen up and let our offense get going."
That meant getting Andrea Honer and Emily Haas going, which is exactly what happened. Honer scored 15 and Haas and game-high 16 points, several off crucial offensive put backs in the third quarter that kept her team in the game when the Grizzlies were threatening to pull away.
Honer's running jumper with 10 seconds left in the game tied it 42. In overtime, she scored five of team's 11 points. Haas' basket with 3:32 left in overtime gave the Tigers a 44-42 lead, their first since it was 19-18 in the second quarter.
"Andrea stepped up and made the difference," Christen said. "And Emily is so aggressive and she does such a good job for on the boards on both ends."
Although Hixon was still in the game when the Tigers mounted their amazing comeback, Christen noticed she wasn't the same Hixon who started the game. He sensed she was wearing down.
"We knew that if you stop Joanna, you have a good shot to beat Galena," Christen said. "Joanna has a lot of energy and is such a good player. But you don't stop her early, you can only make her tired, wear her down during the game. I think we did that."
Amber Gwinn scored seven for Douglas and Lindsey Rollins added six more. Hawkins scored 14 for Galena, which ends its season at 16-11.