Douglas upsets Carson girls in Minden | NevadaAppeal.com
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Douglas upsets Carson girls in Minden

Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal News ServiceCarson's Gina Bianchi goes up for a shot Friday as Douglas' Jackie Harper looks on.
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MINDEN – It was a week of perspective for the Douglas High girls’ basketball team.

Coming off a narrow loss to Manogue on Saturday, the team was ready to build on the lessons they learned and put them into practice against rival Carson later in the week.

The next day, however, they learned that the father of sophomore forward Ebony Cleveland – Trinity Lutheran deacon Jonathan Cleveland – had passed away in his sleep.

In the follow days, the team practiced only twice and spent Thursday afternoon at the memorial service.

“It really shows you what’s important,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said prior to Friday’s game. “Practice isn’t important right now. What’s important is that we are there for Ebony.”

A week of tragedy ended in victory for the Lady Tigers on Friday night as they pulled off an upset win over Carson, 54-51 in overtime.

Cleveland was given the nod for her first career start and came away with six points and a couple of key steals and rebounds in the game.

“It’s been an emotional week for all of us, much less her,” Christen said. “Emotionally, we wanted to get her in the game right away. Plus, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking we haven’t won a tip. Ebony (who is 6 feet, 2 inches) gives us a shot to do that.”

Incidentally, she did win the tip.

In fact, Cleveland nearly won the game in regulation for the Tigers, banking in a soft layup with 15 seconds left for a 46-44 lead. What followed was a typical Carson-Douglas finish.

The Senators rebounded a missed Douglas free throw with five seconds left and Gina Bianchi drove the length of the floor before nailing a turnaround jumper just outside the lane at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

“It would’ve been a bit of a storybook ending if we could’ve hung on in regulation,” Christen said. “Ebony had a really nice shot. But Gina comes down and makes a great shot at the end.”

Douglas’ Tia Lyons hit a pair of layups sandwiched around a pair of Yvonne Hollett free throws for Carson to open the overtime period, giving the Tigers a 50-48 lead.

Cleveland provided one more spark for the Tigers, knocking down a pair of free throws with 1:59 left. Elayna Shine answered with a basket for Carson, but Douglas got a pair of free throws from Katie Dry down the stretch and Cleveland rebounded a missed Carson free throw to put the game away.

“She played really well,” Christen said. “I was really proud of her. There were a lot of really good things happening tonight.

“Erica Macias did some good things for us, Tia Lyons hit some shots. It was a nice team win. Everyone played and everyone contributed. We were very happy.”

Ne’Jae Jackson led Douglas with 17 points, Alex Laing had 10, Tia Lyons had eight, Jackie Harper had seven, Cleveland had six, Katie Dry had three and Bri Burnside and Macias each had two.

Whitney Nash led Carson with 17 points, Bianchi had 11, Shine had seven, Natalie Stevens had six, Tina McAllister-Daggs had three, Hollett and Eliza Matley each had two and Kate Schultz had one.