Douglas girls advance to finals

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SPARKS -- Based on Friday night's performance against Fallon, saying Douglas truly deserves to reach the Northern 4A Regional championship games to make the state tournament might not be entirely accurate. But who cares? The Tigers, plagued by turnovers and so-so shooting against the Greenwave, who didn't really play that well themselves, are headed back to the state tournament for the first time in 19 years.

Julie Gingrich scored a game-high 13 points and Erin Brinkmeyer had 11 as Douglas won its second close game in the zone tournament, 45-43, over Fallon at Spanish Springs High.

Douglas, which needed overtime to beat Galena on Wednesday night, has now won a school record 23 games this season. The previous record was 18, set by the 1983 team that was the last to make the state tournament.

"We have a bunch of rowdy girls in there," Douglas coach Werner Christen said as he walked out of the locker room after the game. "We just reminded them that we still have to play the zone championship game."

Yes, Christen is right. The Tigers still must face riva Carson today at 5 p.m. in the regional championship game to see who gets the No. 1 seed from the North at next week's state tournament. But in the meantime, relishing this win isn't such a bad way to go because the Tigers achieved one of their season goals.

"It's special (making it to state), especially because I'm a senior," said Amber Gwinn, who was born during the same year the last Douglas team made state. "We know we still have to play tomorrow, but we know we're going to state. That's been our goal. We know we could do it. We just completed our goal."

In a game when standouts Andrea Honer and Emily Haas never got it going offensively, the rest of the Tigers stepped up in every way they could against the High Desert League champions. Honer and Haas together only scored eight points. Still, it was Haas' basket, her only of the night, with 1:41 left in teh game that proved to be the game-winning shot.

Fallon never led in the second half, but tied it at 43 after Terrin Johnston's 3-pointer with just under two minutes remaining. The Greenwave had two chances at the end to either tie or take the lead, but turned it over twice in the final 17 seconds. After the first turnover, Gwinn was fouled with five seconds left, giving her a chance to seal the game from the free throw line. Instead, she missed the front end of a one-in-one. Fallon rebounded, then turned it over. Gwinn ended up with the ball in her hand as the buzzer sounded.

"That was nice," Gwinn said of retreiving the ball. "But not as nice as making that shot would've been, though."

"It was a good miss, it bounced around a little bit," Werner said jokingly after the game about Gwinn's shot.

It's ironic, really, that's how the game unfolded. Douglas turned the ball over 19 times after the first quarter and the Greenwave scored 14 points off those turnovers. The Tigers' careless play is what kept Fallon in the game. But in the end, it was the Greenwave's own turnovers that decided the game.

"We had a bunch and so did they," said Christen of the turnovers. "We're not real good in the halfcourt game, we like to get out in transition. I truly believe if we play them 10 times, we each win five times. I thought they were the best 3-point shooting team (in the tournament)."

Maybe during the regular season, but not against Douglas. The Greenwave shot only 2-of-10 from behind the arc. So if it wasn't for all the turnovers, the Tigers could've had a bigger cushion. But it wsa nip and tuck most of the game.

A 7-0 run to end the first quarter gave Douglas a 12-8 lead, but Fallon kept it close. The Greenwave held their last lead of the game at 19-18 following a 9-0 run towards the end of the second quarter. But Gingrich helped the Tigers regain the lead with one of her five field goals in the game. They never gave it up after that.

"The bracket was set up for us," Christen said. "We struggled with Reno and Carson (on the top half of the bracket). that's not to take anything away from Fallon, they're a heckuva team. But playing somebody we're not used to was nice."


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