Douglas runs away with win

MINDEN - The Douglas boys' basketball team wasn't in any mood to see a repeat of last season's first-round exit from the regional playoffs Tuesday night.

After battling Reno closely through the early part of the second half, the Tigers used runs of 14-3 and 16-2 to run away with a 69-46 victory.

The win advanced Douglas to the regional semifinals Thursday night against Hug.

"Last year was running through out minds big time," said Douglas guard Austin Neddenriep, who had a game-high 22 points, including six 3-pointers. "All the seniors came together and we just said we had to do it this year."

Last year's first round loss to McQueen in Minden was a big part of motivation for this week, Douglas coach Corey Thacker said.

"There's 10 kids on this team that were there," Thacker said. "They just kept saying it's not going to happen this year. Our seniors stepped up and led us.

"They remembered it. It was on their minds."

While Reno was far from the same team that Douglas shut out over the final 12 minutes of the two teams' matchup in Reno three weeks ago, the Tiger defense still played a big part in the outcome.

The teams settled for a 17-17 tie through the first quarter and the Huskies took a 25-23 lead on a layup from Anthony Hascheff with 5:32 remaining in the first half.

Douglas held Reno without a field goal over the remainder of the quarter while the Huskies made four free throws.

In the meantime Theo Denson and Neddenriep each hit 3-pointers to launch the Tigers on a 12-0 run over the next four minutes.

"The defense was huge," Thacker said. "Those runs to increase the lead was big in deciding the outcome in this game.

"I'm proud of our guys overall. They stepped it up tonight. We had three starters sick (Neddenriep, Denson and Matt Thomas) but they fought through it and were ready to go."

Reno's four made free throws came in the final 45 seconds of the half, cutting the score to 35-29 at halftime.

The Huskies came out and scored the first four points of the third quarter on free throws from Hascheff and a layup from Davaid Abittan, to close the score down to 35-33.

They would get no closer, though, as the Douglas defense turned things up again, setting up the 14-3 run.

"The second half, our guys kept getting big stops." Thacker said. "It turned the momentum of the game."

A late basket by Hascheff set the score at 49-38 heading into the fourth.

That's when Douglas' guards, who had already hit six 3-pointers in the game, exploded.

Neddenriep hit a pair of 3-pointers from the corner on back-to-back trips down the floor early in the fourth.

Sophomore Hunter Myers slammed home an emphatic dunk on Douglas' next trip.

Neddenriep followed that with yet another 3-pointer from the corner, and Denson hit from outside on the opposite side to extend the run set the score at 63-40.

"Coach kept telling us to go through the bigs," Neddenriep said. "When they didn't have it, they kicked it out to the guards and we just wanted it tonight.

"I just wanted to win. It's our last home game and I wanted to get a win for my teammates and coaches."

Neddenriep stretched the lead to 65-40 on a breakaway layup, after which both Thacker and Reno coach Kyle Schellin pulled their starters with 4:30 left.

Denson finished three 3-pointers to go with Neddenriep's six. Senior Chris Down added a trey, giving Douglas 10 as a team.

"I'm glad it (the outside shooting) came out tonight," Thacker said. "It really helped us extend the lead in some key spots.

"It helps our offense out when you force them to guard both ways. They know they have to worry about our guys inside, but when we can knock down those outside shots, it stretches the defense out for us."

Denson finished with nine points, Myers had eight, Thomas had seven, Jorey Scott had six, Connor Hughes, Nick Maestretti and Garrett Getty each had four, Downs had three and Trevor Shaffer had two.

The win was the first postseason victory for any player on this year's roster.

Douglas last playoff victory in Minden came in 2008 over Reed. Douglas improved to 22-4 on the year with the win.


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