Cold spell dooms Douglas in regional quarterfinal
By Joey Crandall
Heading into the fourth quarter Wednesday night, the Douglas and Spanish Springs girls’ basketball teams appeared to be rolling toward a classic finish in the first round of the 4A regional tournament.
The game, after all, had already seen the lead change hands 11 times and had been tied five times.
Douglas’ Jessica Waggoner scored 30 seconds into the fourth quarter to tie the game at 31, bringing the Lady Tigers back after a brief flurry from Spanish Springs at the end of the third.
And then the well dried up.
The Cougars’ went on a 14-0 run over the next six minutes to pick up a 47-33 win and advance to the regional semifinals.
“We just went cold,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said. “We weren’t knocking our shots down, but Spanish Springs played very well defensively too. They are a great team.
“We got good shots, they just didn’t fall. They did a good job of getting a hand up in our face.”
In other regional games on Wednesday night, Reed crushed Hug 80-37, Galena trounced North Valleys 55-32 and Reno throttled Bishop Manogue 75-51.
When Douglas’ offense began to struggle, Spanish Springs began to hit its stride on the other end, starting with a bank-shot 3-pointer from Danielle Beebe with 6:53 left in the game.
The Cougars got a basket from Ari James and a free throw from Jordan Rogers before Beebe hit another 3-pointer to take a 40-31 lead in just two minutes.
“They have a lot of weapons,” Christen said. “They are just hard to stop. It just seemed like when you shut one of them down, another one steps up and makes something happen.”
In a game that had been such a defensive battle to that point, the Cougars’ run proved to be insurmountable as Douglas was limited to just 12 second-half points.
“You’re not going to win games against good teams when you just score 12 points in a half,” Christen said. “One of our goals this year was to keep teams to single-digit quarters. We’ve been doing a good job of that all year.
“We’re a good defensive team, but they sort of turned the tables on us tonight.”
The finish was nearly the opposite to the start as Douglas jumped out to an 8-2 lead on a trio of baskets from junior center Jessica Waggoner and a layup from senior forward Gina Pfaffenberger.
Spanish Springs settled in offensively, however, and used a 10-2 run to close out the quarter to take a 12-10 lead.
“That (going to Waggoner) is what we’d been doing all year, we weren’t going to change anything now,” Christen said. “After we got up early, they got into their zone defense. They had a hard time with Jessica early on, so they pretty much dared us to shoot outside.”
That strategy worked to Spanish Springs’ benefit.
Douglas was able to find a host of open looks at the basket, but suffered from an 0-for-14 night behind the arc. Waggoner finished with a game-high 16 points, but the Cougars kept standout senior point guard Bridget Maestretti off the scoreboard completely.
After James scored to open the second quarter, Douglas reclaimed the lead on baskets from Waggoner and Helen Fillmore and a free throw from Sarah Hartley.
The teams’ traded the lead five more times through the end of the half before Danyelle Heidt scored on a reverse layup with 59 seconds left to knot the score up at 21 heading into the locker room.
Heidt finished with six points for the Tigers and Fillmore and Taryn Williams each had four for the Tigers.
Spanish Springs got 15 points from Rogers, Beebe had 10, James had nine and Courtney Darby had eight.
Douglas wrapped up with a 22-9 record overall, which tied for the second-most wins in the program’s history.
The Tigers had eight seniors playing in their final high school game.
“That’s a tough bunch to say goodbye to,” Christen said. “They have been playing in that gym since they were six years old in youth league.
“It’s just a wonderful bunch of kids. They had a great season. We worked hard and had fun. They worked together, were a family, played hard and loved each other. It really was an enjoyable time.
“Ending like this stings for now, but we’ll look back at the good times we had this season and those smiles will come back.”
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