While North Douglas was able to secure a 64-43 win over Days Creek on Saturday night, it did not have the feel of a 21-point game. Whether it is North Douglas’ propensity to give away leads this season – including a Friday night loss after leading by 11 – or Days Creek’s ability to get hot at a moment’s notice, the team was at least somewhat on edge until the final buzzer sounded.
“We’ve had problems with getting ahead of ourselves and turning it over and kind of losing some games that maybe we shouldn’t have because we kind of got into panic mode and got ahead of ourselves,” said North Douglas senior Cal Parks who finished with game-high 21 points. “So we really tried to press the brakes at the end of games, especially when we are up and have a decent lead so that we can take care of the ball and not turn it over.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 19-8 first quarter and advantage. And when Days Creek looked to take over in the second, North Douglas turned to the bench where senior Justin Smith provided a spark scoring eight of his 15 points on the day. The 6-foot-6 Smith, who was named most improved player on the JV team last season, used his height advantage to get easy buckets.
“Just keeping the ball high and getting layups,” Smith said about what was working in his offensive game on the night.
“Keep it high, he’d keep it high, turn around and just put it up. It was perfect. This was his best game, I think that’s a career high for him and he played well,” said Vancil on Smith’s performance.
While the North Douglas lead had grown to 15-points at the half, Vancil knew Days Creek was going to find their offense.
“What we know about [Days Creek] is that they have very good shooters,” said Vancil. “What I told them at halftime, I said, ‘They’re not shooting well in the first half, we have a 15-point lead but they’re going to make a run. They are great shooters so expect it.’”
Sure enough the run came in the third quarter as Blake Ellis caught fire and hit three three-pointers in the quarter. And with Parks on the bench for North Douglas with foul trouble, Days Creek continued to make a push and cut the lead to nine points in the fourth quarter.
With under four minutes to play and both sets of fans complaining about every whistle and no-call alike, it was gut-check time for North Douglas as they tried to hang on to a lead this time. It was Parks coming up big for the Warriors scoring six straight points as the team ended the game on a 12-0 run to snag a victory.
“We were just able to make a run of our own at the end. We’ve been ending games where the other team is finishing the game with their run of 8-0, 9-0 whatever it may be but this time we turned it on and we had our own 8-0 run at the end of the game that sparked us to have the defense and have everything put together for us to win the game,” said Parks.
The Warriors now prepare for Yoncalla on Friday at home and Elkton on the road on Saturday.
“I think we just need to look at it one game at a time and not overlook any teams because last year we happened to look over teams and then we drop a couple to Elkton and Yoncalla, games that we could have won had we played our best,” said Parks. “I think we just need to not do that this year and I think we can come out with a good season in league.”