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Douglas girls play Centennial tough

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

By DARRELL MOODY

Nevada Appeal News Service

RENO – One thing is evident about this year’s Douglas High’s girls’ basketball team. It has tremendous courage.

The Tigers fell behind by 18 points in the first quarter, but battled back and threw a scare into nationally ranked Centennial of Las Vegas before falling 74-59 Saturday on the final day of the North-South Shootout at Galena High School.

The loss dropped Douglas to 3-1 overall, but Douglas coach Werner Christen was ecstatic about his team’s effort.

“It was a great effort,” he said. “I’m not happy that we lost, but we’re going to build on the effort we showed today. We made some basketball plays today, and that’s a big deal. We’ve been thinking too much instead of reacting.

“That’s a very talented team, the best we’ve seen this year.”

Erin Brinkmeyer, who scored nine hard-earned points, agreed with her coach.

“I think we played really hard,” she said. “Coach told us to play hard defensively in the second half. We were getting out there and wreaking havoc. They beat Galena by 60 (actually 63) and Reno by 30. We lost by 15, but we played our hearts out.”

The Tigers shot a respectable 47.6 from the floor, including a 66 percent effort in the second half. Centennial shot 39 percent for the game, including 33 percent in the second half.

What Douglas couldn’t overcome was Centennial’s whopping 28-18 advantage in field goals, and most of that damage was done in the first two periods.

Centennial’s press gave Douglas fits from the outset. Centennial forced Douglas into 10 first-quarter turnovers en route to a 24-8 first-quarter lead.

Centennial broke a 4-all tie with a 9-0 run on five straight points by Sierra Chambers, a putback by Jordyn Bowen (21 points, 12 rebounds) and a layup by Whitney Price (10 points). After a basket by Jessie Kizer, Centennial closed out the quarter with an 11-2 run, as Price scored on a basket and two free throws, and Ashley Blake (15 points) threw in a three-pointer at the buzzer.

“We were a little too tentative in the first quarter against their press,” Christen said.

However, Centennial paid the price for its aggressive defense. The Las Vegas powerhouse got into team foul trouble early, and Douglas spent almost the entire second quarter at the foul line.

The Tigers sank 13 foul shots in the first quarter, which kept them in the game, and Centennial went to the line just four times.

“They fouled, and they (the officials) called it,” Christen said. “We weren’t going to sit back. We were going to attack the basket.”

A nice 8-2 run, keyed by Tammy Gough’s five points, closed the deficit to 26-16 with a shade over five minutes left in the half. Centennial built the lead back to 12, 30-18, only to see the Tigers storm back with five straight points, all on free throws, to slice the lead to 30-23. Gingrich hit four free throws in that stretch, and the Centennial bench was nailed for a technical. Two treys by Italee Lucas built the lead to 40-26 at the half.

“The last two minutes of the first half we didn’t play well,” Christen said.

Christen warned his team at halftime that Centennial would come and play at a higher level, and that his team needed to respond.

And the Tigers did, although not right away. Centennial built the lead to 50-32 midway through the third period, and Douglas stormed back, scoring eight of the next 10 points to trim the lead to 52-40.

Kizer and Gingrich beat the Centennial defense down the floor for easy layups, and after Karissa Fernandez scored, Gough hit two foul shots after penetrating inside, and Gingrich knocked down a 15-footer from the left side with 2:48 left.

Centennial closed out the third period with seven straight points, boosting the lead to 59-40. Douglas closed to 13 twice in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer.

Gingrich led Douglas with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Puzey scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Gough added 10 and Kizer eight, as the Tigers showed their best balance of the season.

Galena 67, Silverado 34

The Grizzlies, 2-2, threw in seven three-point field goals en route to an easy win over Silverado, the only team in the field not to win a game.

“We played a lot better today,” said coach Karen Friel, whose team was hammered by Centennial 97-34 on Friday. “We handled them pretty well.”

Caitlin Anderson led the Grizzlies with 22 points, knocking down seven baskets and going 7-for-11 from the foul line. One of her baskets was a three-pointer. Caitlin Croft had another solid game, scoring 14 points.

Candace Smoot led Silverado with 12 points and Anna Andrews added 10.