Both North Douglas basketball programs will be returning home with some hardware after the boys team took home the fourth place trophy and the girls finished out the weekend by taking fifth. The Warriors also saw two players get recognized for all tournament selections with Ray Gerrard on the boys side earning first team and Samantha MacDowell getting second team.
“I’m super proud of our guys,” said boys Head Coach Jesse Leman. “Because it’s really easy to just pack it up after a really heartbreaking loss (against Crane) and not show up especially when the games the next morning at 9 a.m. It takes a lot of resolve to be able to show up and play a good game and keep it going.”
The Warriors boys had the toughest draw of anyone getting the number one overall seed Crane in the first round of the quarterfinals. North Douglas hung with Crane all game responding to every bucket or move the Mustangs made.
The game was tied at halftime at 26 and the Warriors even pulled ahead at times in the first half. Over the course of the contest the lead changed a total of seven times with the largest lead never being more than eight. In the final seconds of the contest with the score at 41, Keegan Mast was called for an offensive foul that would be his fifth. That only left a few seconds remaining but was just enough time for Crane’s Carter Nichols to hit a three at the buzzer to give the Mustang’s a last second win and help them become the eventual 1A champions.
North Douglas was able to battle back the next game and avenge an earlier season loss against Riddle. The Warriors beat the Irish 61-56 to advance in the consolation bracket playing for fourth place. On the last day of tournament play the Warrior boys were up against Nixyaawii at 8 a.m. on March. 5. In their final game of the season North Douglas left no doubt and controlled the game from start to finish to close out their season with a win and trophy.
“To be in the top four at state is a successful season, no doubt,” said Leman. “Everybody wants to finish first, that’s the ultimate goal. But to be right there in the mix is a successful season to bring home some hardware is special.”
The Lady Warriors started their tournament play with a walloping of Echo in the quarterfinal matchup 54-37.
In the semi-finals North Douglas took on Damascus Christian with a spot in the championship up for grabs. The Warriors offense couldn’t get anything going in the first half and found themselves down 20-10 going into the second. North Douglas’ offense woke up and outscored the Eagles 15-9 to get right back in the game only down four at the end of the third quarter. Savannah Harkins made a free throw that got the Warriors back within three with just over 20 seconds remaining, but Damascus was able to hold on at the end and earn the 44-39 victory over North Douglas.
On the final day, North Douglas was in the 3rd/5th place game against Country Christian. In the first half the game featured seven lead changes with the Warriors holding a slim lead at halftime 35-32. But in the second half the Cougars turned it on offensively and outscored the Warriors 28-18 the rest of the way and came away with a 60-53 win over North Douglas.
“We had a great season,” Assistant Coach Rocky Rodgers told the News Review in an interview. “The upside is we’re not going home empty handed - were bringing home some hardware.”
The Lady Warriors ended their season with a fifth-place trophy and both teams will get to add first place league finishes to their accomplishments.