Damonte Ranch stuns Douglas boys

MINDEN - The Damonte Ranch boys' basketball team pulled off the upset of the Sierra League season Tuesday night.

The only thing was, almost no one was there to see it.

The Mustangs used a big third-quarter to get up on third-ranked Douglas and held on for a wild 67-63 win Tuesday night in front of a sparse crowd heavily thinned out by the inclement weather.

Douglas had beaten Damonte Ranch (4-6 in league play and 5-10 overall) handily earlier in the month but the Mustangs crept up on the Tigers before taking the lead for good just two minutes into the third quarter.

"They didn't do anything different from the first game," Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. "They just out hustled us.

"They got to the rim and beat us to the ball. They just got after us and outworked us."

The game was just three days on the heels of a big scare against Carson during which the Tigers lost an 18-point lead and held on for a two-point overtime victory.

"This is two games in a row where this has happened," Thacker said. "Whatever is going on, we have to figure it out. Someone has to step up.

"It might be the coaches, or the senior leadership, or someone on the team, but we have to fix this. We have to figure out a way to play hard every time we step on the court."

Damonte Ranch got 18 points from forward Luigi Terrana, most of which came on backdoor cuts, while Kelton Hall put up 16 and Kyle Brush scored 11 on a series of slashes up the middle.

Douglas was without shooting guard James McLaughlin, who was out with the flu. Reports were that he'd lost 10 pounds in three days while sick.

Even so, the Tigers appeared to be on their way to a win after stretching out a 27-18 lead late in the second quarter.

Douglas failed to put any points on the board over the last three minutes of the quarter, however, and the Mustangs capitalized, scoring seven unanswered points to close within two at 27-25.

The game turned around early in the third after Douglas' Ross Bertolone scored a layup off of a David Laird steal 15 seconds in.

Damonte Ranch proceeded to go on a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to take a 35-31 lead.

Douglas center Jeff Nady, who finished with a team-high 18-points, sandwiched a Damonte basket with a basket and pair of free throws of his own to close to score to 37-34.

The Mustangs answered with probably their most crucial run of the season, going on a 15-5 run to close out the quarter with a 52-40 lead.

It turned out that they'd need every point of that lead as C.J. Marcotte and Kevin Emm opened the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap to 52-46.

Damonte stretched it back out with baskets from Brush and Jake Johnson before Douglas went on an 11-4 run to close the gap to 60-57 with two minutes remaining.

Brush hit the front end of a pair of free throws to give Damonte a 61-57 lead and then Nady and Hall traded baskets to work the score to 63-59 with a little over a minute left.

Douglas' Tim Rudnick hit a pair of free throws to cut the score to 63-61 and Brush missed a pair of free throws at the other end with 31 seconds left, setting the Tigers up for a potential game-winning or tying possession.

Douglas' shot missed at the other end of the floor and Hall hit a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.

Nady scored with 15 seconds left, and Douglas fouled Riley Hines to send him to the line with 14 seconds left.

Hines missed both shots, but came up with the bigger play, rebounding his second miss. Hines passed the ball to Hall, who sank both free throws after a late foul to seal the game.

Douglas had one more chance with 7.6 seconds left, and Nady appeared to hit a 3-pointer that would have cut the lead to one with one second remaining, but it was wiped off the board after a miscommunication between Thacker and the referees.

Thacker was attempting to call a timeout after the shot, but the referee misunderstood what he was saying and blew the whistle before Nady's shot.

Emm finished with 17 points for Douglas and three 3-pointers, while Laird and Marcotte each had six. Drew Hamlett, Rudnick and Bertolone each finished with four.

For Damonte, Kevin South had six points, Josh Butler finished with four, Johnson had three and Hines and David Howard each had two.

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