RENO -- The drought down South is over, but continues at Douglas High. Centennial ended any hopes for the Tigers to win their first state championship in 25 years as the Bulldogs held on for a 76-74 double overtime win on Friday night in the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Championship game at the Lawlor Events Center.
Darci Sandoval led the way, scoring xx points for the Bulldogs, who become the first team from the Las Vegas area to win a girl's state basketball championship since the 1979-80 season, when Chaparral did.
Douglas (26-6) was looking for its first state title since 1977, when it was a 2A school. The 26 wins were the most by the girls basketball program since 1983, which was the last time the Tigers qualified for the state tournament. So even with the loss, it was a still dream season for Douglas. The game will surely go down as one of the greatest state championships ever, but it wasn't meant to be against the Bulldogs, who wore down the Tigers just as they had against Carson on Thursday in the semifinals.
The Bulldogs (34-0) were without two starters in the overtime periods, but still found a way to hold off Douglas. Emily Haas' three-point play with 2:13 left in regulation made it 59-57 and Andrea Honer followed with a layup that capped off an 11-2 run that tied it at 59 with under a minute remaining. But Honer was called for two five-second calls in the final minute and Centennial missed a chance to win it at the buzzer.
Once in overtime, it was back and forth. Jenene Jones scored five-straight points to make it 68-65, but Honer provided more dramatics with a 3-pointer as time expired to force a second overtime. Once there, the Bulldogs scored all of their points from the free throw line. They went 6-of-8 in the second overtime when Honer and Haas were out of the game after fouling out after regulation. Down 76-74, Terrah Kizer's attempted 3-pointer at the buzzer, which would've won it, was tipped by Sandoval as the Bulldogs stormed the floor.
Centennial started the game with a furious rally. The Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run and were up 13-4 after making their first five shots to start the game. Sandoval was responsible for most of the damage, scoring eight of her 16 first-half points in the first quarter.
The Tigers countered with a run of their own, a 13-2 spurt that put them up 17-15 after Erin Brinkmeyer's basket with 5:34 left in the half. Another basket by Brinkmeyer a few minutes later gave Douglas its biggest lead of the half, 24-19. Brinkmeyer, a freshman, had eight points in the first half as the Tigers led 28-26 at the break.
Sandoval was 6-of-7 from the field in the first half and 4-of-5 from behind the arc. The rest of the Bulldogs were only 2-of-16 from the field in the first half. Sandoval only scored four in Centennial's 62-47 semifinal win over Carson.
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