Douglas rolls past Reno
Appeal Sports Writer
SPARKS – Although the Douglas Tigers had come close to the defending Class 4A state champion Reno Huskies twice this year in the regular season, they surprised even themselves with their performance in Friday’s semifinal game of the Northern 4A regional playoffs at Spanish Springs High School.
After holding the first-seed Huskies scoreless in the first quarter, the three-seed Tigers never let up and took an 86-59 victory to improve to 23-8 and advance to today’s championship game against Galena, a 75-71 winner over Hug.
Douglas coach Rob Streeter had exactly one word to sum up his feelings after Douglas held a 20-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
“Shock,” said Streeter before expounding. “I was completely in shock. We had a strong belief in ourselves. Beating a team three times is hard to do. We got on a roll. In our first possession, Jeff (Nady) had a block. Jeff’s a load underneath the basket.”
While Jeff Nady finished with 14 points, it was Reno coach Kyle Schellin who was left feeling the load after his team ended its season at 24-6.
“I didn’t have my guys prepared the way I wanted to,” Schellin said. “We didn’t have any rhythm right out of the chute. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. It was kind of goofy. It was one of those nights where we got the short end of the stick, so to speak.”
Keith Olson led the Tigers with 21 points and Mike Gransbery added 20 as these Tigers now know what it feels to be on the swinging end of the whipping stick. “We’ve lost to Reno so many times,” Gransbery said. “We wanted to get them. This was a perfect time to get them. Perfect. We came out (20-0). It was beautiful. We played as a team. We’re excited to get the win. We haven’t had a win like that in Douglas basketball in a long time.”
Douglas never let up in the second quarter, either, taking a 25-0 lead before surrendering a pair of free throws to Olek Czyz.
Jeff Nady’s layup gave Douglas a 30-4 lead before Reno was able to connect on its first field goal, a gutsy layup by Czyz, who drove to the hoop through four Douglas defenders.
It was the beginning of an 8-0 run for the Huskies, who cut the lead to 30-12 on another drive by Czyz, who finished with 19 points.
Austin Morgan led all Reno scorers with 23.
The Tigers closed the half on an 8-3 run for a 38-15 halftime lead.
“I told them to keep on playing. Reno was only five possessions away from getting back into this,” Streeter said of his halftime talk with his players. “We have a bunch of seniors in there. They stayed focused.”
The Tigers came out hungry in the third quarter and went on a 16-0 run to make it 59-23, their largest lead of the game, with 3:21 left in the third quarter. Olson started the run with a putback, a layup and a three-point play. Kevin Emm (eight points), Gransbery and James McLaughlin (10 points) each followed with a 3-pointer.
The Huskies managed to cut the lead to 27 (62-35) on Casey Brown’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining in the third, but Douglas never let up.
“They play so hard on defense and to have that size in there, it’s tough to get any easy shots,” Schellin said of the 6-foot-10 Olson, the 6-7 Jeff Nady and the 6-8 Joe Nady. “They were very well prepared. We knew they were a good team, but they came out very well-adjusted and did the things they needed to do.”
Having been the coach of a state championship team, Schellin knows what it takes to get there and he said that the Tigers have a shot at going all the way.
“Their size will be a problem for anybody,” Schellin said. “Take into account that they rebound the ball very well with Keith and Nady and they have Kevin Emm and Gransbery as their guards…They’re well coached and will be a tough team for anybody to beat.”
Douglas hasn’t won a state championship since 1979, when it was in the Class 2A. It will need to get by Galena today to advance to next week’s Class 4A state championships in Las Vegas.
The Douglas-Galena regional championship game begins at 6 p.m. and follows the 4 p.m. Reed-Manogue girls championship game, which starts at 4 p.m. at Spanish Springs High School.