Freedom bypasses the Douglas boys

Douglas High Boys Basketball

Douglas High senior Kasen Boggs goes up for a layup during the Class 5A State Semifinals against Liberty High Friday night at the Lawlor Events Center. Boggs had 13 points in his last game in a Tiger uniform.
Photo by Ron Harpin.

RENO — There’s no doubt Douglas High Boys’ Basketball wanted a chance against Bishop Gorman in the Class 5A State Championship game on Saturday night.
Although the Tigers fell to Liberty, 62-43, in the state semifinals, there’s no denying that Douglas didn’t peak at the right time.
In order to make it to the state tournament, Douglas won his first regional title under 16-year-old head coach Corey Thacker.
In doing so, the Tigers won 12 of 13 games to close the season, including five in a row after dethroning the defending Northern Regional Champions in Spanish Springs.
It’s arguably the best streak of the season the Douglas boys’ basketball has seen in decades.
Although the Tigers end the 2021-22 campaign with a 20-8 record, playing at home to the Wolf Pack in the state’s last four is a feat in and of itself.
“The growth we’ve had since the start of the year. They had to work hard,” said head coach Corey Thacker. “We had to have this growth. We wouldn’t be here without him. »
(Douglas High junior JC Reid throws a 3-pointer against Liberty Friday night in the Class 5A semifinals. Reid finished with 11 points in the Tigers’ loss. / Ron Harpin)


Defensive finesse
In early December, Douglas fell in overtime against Damonte Ranch, 86-78.
Thacker described this match as a shootout because Douglas was “just trying to outplay people”.
It will go down as the game in which the Tigers allowed the most runs all season.
In Friday night’s state semifinal, Liberty entered the building averaging 74 points per game.
Douglas held the Patriots at 62.
The defensive spirit and toughness can be traced back to the Tigers’ regional final win over Spanish Springs, in which Douglas gave up 10 points in the second half to clinch the Class 5A North regional title.
“It’s crazy. What we’ve accomplished is stuff that people in this valley don’t talk about,” Thacker said. “There aren’t many alumni who can say that and I hope we started a little trend.”
Down 11-8 at the end of the first quarter, Liberty went on an 11-0 run to make it a 22-8 game.
Douglas did his best to keep the Patriots within striking distance, but the size and physique of the No. 2 Las Vegas team kept the Tigers from returning to the competition.
Douglas trailed 38-18 at halftime and was down about 18-20 points for the remainder of the contest.


Senior class
With six dressed seniors on the roster this season, the Tigers will have their hands full trying to replace this season’s talent.
Kasen Boggs finished the night with 13 points and will become Class 5A North’s leading scorer this season after averaging 20.3 points per game.
Chris Smalley had 10 points and at least two blocks inside and will be a post presence that we will greatly miss next season.
“Their leadership,” Thacker said. “They want to be better every day. They are the reason our team comes together. They support each other and hold each other accountable when needed.
Along with Boggs and Smalley, Douglas will lose Dakota Jones, Neil Lewis, Carson Hill, Connor Ward and Chris Myers to graduate in the spring.
“I am getting old now. … 2022 has been a good year and we’re going to talk about it for a long time,” Thacker said. “I’m just proud of these kids. It was great.”
The Class 5A state championship will be decided Saturday night at 5 p.m. at the Lawlor Events Center between 10-time defending champion Bishop Gorman and Liberty High School.


Class 5A boys declare semi-final scores
No. 2 Liberty 62, No. 1 Douglas 43
No. 1 Bishop Gorman 83, No. 2 Spanish Springs 49

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