Douglas seniors led Tigers in win |

Douglas seniors led Tigers in win

Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal News Service Carson's Pat Smith guards Douglas' Tyler Hoelzen on Friday night in Minden. Douglas won 69-55 over the Senators.

MINDEN ” When the Manogue Miners finished off any postseason hopes the Douglas boys’ basketball team had last week, the Tigers decided to make the final week of the regular season their own version of the playoffs.

Consider Friday night’s matchup with the rival Carson Senators their championship game.

Douglas pulled away with a 69-55 win over the Senators in Minden, putting the wraps on a 6-8 Sierra League season.

“Obviously, it’s not the coolest way to end the season, but it’s pretty close to it,” said Douglas senior forward Nick Hales, who had 14 points in the game. “It felt fantastic. Just playing in my last high school game with these guys and coming away with a big win. We would’ve liked to make the playoffs, but beating Carson in our last game was almost as good.”

On the other side, Carson will be left to prepare for defending state champion Reno High in the first round of the playoffs next week.

Douglas played some of its best basketball of the season, never trailing although Carson was able to tie the score up twice in the first half.

“We wanted to finish up 2-0 this week,” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said (The Tigers won at South Tahoe on Tuesday). “We put it on the seniors and asked them how they wanted to leave the program. They wanted to go out beating Carson at home.”

As such, Douglas started all five of its seniors and got significant contributions from each in the game.

James McLaughlin led all scorers with 22 points, Tim Rudnick had 15, Hales had 14, Tyler Hoelzen had nine and Parker Robertson had four.

“We went with those five guys for a lot of the game,” Thacker said. “They came up big for us tonight. We also got good spots from our younger guys. It was a good team effort.”

Douglas started out running straight at the post and put up a quick 4-0 lead on baskets from McLaughlin and Hales inside the paint.

“We established the inside, we knew they couldn’t guard us there,” Thacker said. “They went with a smaller lineup, so that helped us out a bit too.”

The Tigers pushed the lead to 9-3 before Carson got back into with an 8-3 run that featured a 3-pointer from Matt Rutledge.

Rudnick converted three free throws after being fouled with 0.4 seconds left in the first quarter, though, to give Douglas a 14-10 lead.

Carson had another 8-3 run to lead off the second quarter, tying the score at 18 on a basket from Brian Barnes, but Douglas outscored the Senators 18-10 through the remainder of the half to take a 36-38 lead into halftime.

Hales scored Douglas’ first eight points of the third quarter, mostly on hustle plays, to put the Tigers up 44-31.

“It was just that realization of only having one half of varsity basketball left,” Hales said. “I just wanted to play well.”

“Nick is a guy that plays with a lot of energy all the time, no matter what,” Thacker said. “He is out there giving as much as he has and hopefully we can find somebody to fill his shoes next year.”

Carson later closed the scored back down to 47-44 but a 16-4 run from the Tigers essentially put the game away.

Austin Neddenriep, Cale Pete and Chris Downs each had two points for the Tigers.

Barnes led the Senators with 17 points, Rutledge had 10, Steven Fowzer, Kalvin Case and Paul Cagle each had four and Ian Gunn, Ean Witter and Uriel Duran each had two.