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Douglas boys basketball falls to Oakland

Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service

RENO ” Douglas coach Corey Thacker isn’t trying to hide the fact that the first few weeks of the boys’ basketball season are going to be about getting a lot of looks in a lot of different situations for every player on his roster.

That certainly came through Thursday night in a 63-54 loss to Oakland, Calif., in the first round of the Wild West Shootout at Reno High School.

All 14 players in uniform for the Tigers (senior James McLaughlin is still recovering from a broken leg) saw playing time, nine of whom got on the floor by the end of the first quarter. Nine players put points on the board as well and Tim Rudnick, Michael Whalin and Nick Hales led the team with nine points apiece.

“We’re going to need balanced scoring with 15 guys on the bench,” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. “On any given night, we’ll go anywhere from 7 to 12 players, so we’re definitely going to need balanced scoring.”

The flip side of the play-all strategy, though, is to find out what weaknesses the team has. Second-chance points was the one that reared its head Thursday.

Douglas had superior height (Oakland’s roster only has two forwards and no player over 6-2) but the Wildcats were able to have their way on the offensive boards.

That, coupled with five 3-pointers from the Wildcats on extended offensive sets, was more or less the difference in the game.

“We weren’t rotating over with them,” Thacker said. “We were letting them penetrate and we let them get those second-chance points all day. That was big.”

Oakland utilized its quick and athletic lineup to jump out to a 12-2 lead, bolstered by 3-pointers from T.J. Taylor and Dominique Tapin, and never really looked back.

Taylor finished with 15 points to lead all scorers in the game while Tapin had 12 and Andrew Nash had 10 for the Wildcats.

Douglas was limited to three field goals in the first quarter and suffered from a shaky night at the free-throw line, going 14 of 31 in total.

The Wildcats pushed ahead to a 28-16 lead in the second quarter before Chris Downs hit a 3-pointer with 4:16 left to launch a 9-2 run for the Tigers that cut the deficit to five at 30-25.

Oakland’s defense clamped down, though, and Douglas wouldn’t get any closer on the night. The Wildcats pulled back out with a 9-3 run going into the locker rooms with a 35-28 lead.

A 7-2 run to open the third quarter gave the Wildcats what would be their largest lead of the night at 46-30 with 4:45 remaining.

Douglas once again fought back, this time on an 11-5 run that included a 3-pointer from Nikolai Vasquez and baskets from Cale Pete, Whalin, Austin Neddenriep and Hales.

The teams more or less traded baskets until the final two minutes of the game when Douglas made a late push with an 8-2 run that included a 3-pointer and four free throws from Rudnick and a free throw from Whalin.

Douglas dropped to 0-2 and was scheduled to play at 5 p.m. Friday in the tournament’s consolation bracket.

“We just have to keep pounding,” Thacker said. “We’re getting experience with Hug and Oakland and that is a good thing. Oakland really exposed us there in a couple areas. We just have to keep at it and see what we can do.”