Douglas boys fend off furious Senators rally, win in OT
By Joey Crandall
Appeal News Service
MINDEN - It was a game that had all the makings of a blowout.
Then it shifted into a potential upset.
It will go down in the books, however, as one of the best games in the Northern 4A so far this season.
The Douglas boys' basketball team overcame a late surge from the scrappy Carson Senators to pick up a 70-68 overtime win at Douglas High School Saturday to improve to 8-1 in league play and 16-7 overall.
The Senators dropped to 3-6, 10-12 after battling back against all odds to nearly take the win at the end of regulation.
Douglas had a big night from power forward David Laird, who scored a career-high 27 points to lead the team after starters Jeff Nady and Ross Bertolone fouled out early in the overtime period.
The Tigers managed to hang on for the win, despite being limited to just two field goals in overtime. Instead, Douglas got the bulk of its points from the free throw line, converting 12-of-18 shots from the line in down the stretch.
Laird was superb from the line, going 8-for-8 in the game and 6-for-6 in overtime.
The finish was a far cry from how the game looked less than an hour before.
Douglas led by nine at the half, but quickly stretched that to 18 with an 11-2 run over the first four minutes of the third quarter.
Carson then made a subtle defensive stand over the remainder of the quarter with the Tigers' starters on the bench and scored five points to close the gap to 45-33.
Douglas worked the score back out to 51-36 on a basket from Laird with five minutes left in the game, but Carson quickly answered with a big 3-pointer from Zach Rispin.
Nady, who finished with 14 points, sank a pair of free throws with 4:55 remaining. The points marked the Tigers' last for the next three minutes.
In the meantime, Carson put together a furious rally that started with baskets from David Eller and Paul Cagle, included 3-pointers on back-to-back trips down the floor for Rispin and finished with another basket from Eller.
Douglas' James McLaughlin, who had nine points in the game, put a stop to the 15-0 run with a layup to put the Tigers back up 54-51 with 1:46 remaining, but Carson immediately swung the ball back down court and Caleb Carter hit a 3-pointer to tie up the score.
Neither team managed to put any points on the board during a frantic last minute-and-a-half of regulation, but Carson had a chance to win it with the final possession.
Nady was called for a charge with 41 seconds left, wiping out the shot he'd just made, and the Senators played for the last shot.
Carson's Matt Rutledge, who finished with six points, had an open look on a running jumper, but the ball bounced in and out at the buzzer.
The Senators took their first lead of the game at the start of overtime on a basket from Eller, who finished with eight points.
Nady cut the lead to one after hitting the front end of a pair of free throws, but Rutledge answered back hitting a front end of his own 30 seconds later for the 57-55 lead.
Laird scored on the Tigers' next possession, and Kevin Emm (14 points, three 3-pointers) made it back-to-back with a breakaway layup after a steal at the other end to put the Tigers up for good at 59-57 with 2:04 remaining.
Douglas scored its final 12 points of the game on free throws as Carson attempted to preserve the clock with fouls.
Cagle, who finished with 13 points, cut the deficit to 69-68 with layups on twin drives down the floor with 14 and 5 seconds remaining, but Emm hit one final free throw to set the game at its final score.
Cagle attempted one more drive with time dwindling, but his shot was partially blocked as time ran out.
The Senators were led by Carter with 16 points.