On Saturday night it was the North Douglas Warriors channeling their inner Golden State Warriors three-point shooting abilities as the team from Drain took down defending league-champion Days Creek at home. Entering the game, North Douglas had made eight three-pointers on 61 attempts throughout the season. On Saturday the team hit six threes, all coming the first half, on 10 attempts as they rolled to a 48-31 victory.
“This is our house and we wanted to bring the energy,” said North Douglas senior Abby Whipple who had 15 points including going three-for-four from three-point range. Whipple did more than just score as she filled the stat sheet with 10 rebounds, five steals, four assists and a block for good measure.
While offense has been hard to come by at times this season for North Douglas, it was not apparent in the opening quarter of play. With a three from Natalie Thompson on the first North Douglas shot of the game, and all three Whipple threes coming in the first quarter, the team was out and rolling.
“Really I think the difference sometimes is kids, they receive the ball are they ready to shoot or do they catch it and then decide to shoot? So Abby, if you looked at her shots today, they were in rhythm,” said North Douglas head coach Jeff Davis. Adding, “When we make shots early… we’re going to be pretty good for 32 minutes.” The scoring was distributed around the team as Rilie-Jo Olds finished with 12 points and Thompson had 10.
But for all the excitement of the fast-paced offense, it was the defense that ultimately impressed the home side. As the Wolves wanted to turn the game into a track meet, the Warriors dropped out of their full-court press to make Days Creek beat them in a half-court setting. After falling behind 24-12 at halftime, the Wolves put together a strong third quarter but the Warriors were able to weather the storm. Entering the fourth quarter, North Douglas had a nine-point advantaged that they stretched to 19 with a 10-0 run to start the quarter and seal the game.
“We still have to hang our hats on how we defend and I was proud of our girls,” said Davis. “Our preseason was good for us tonight because when they made a little run at us – I’m not sure that a year ago we might have collapsed. They had a 15 point third quarter and we kind of righted the ship.”
One of the players anchoring the team on the defensive side was Thompson who was primarily matched up against Days Creek’s Moriah Michaels who was named player of the year, in addition to defensive player of the year, for the Skyline Conference. Michaels finished with nine points.
“The job she did on Michaels is just incredible. To come out the game never changes her facial expressions, never misses a beat. She really had the look in the locker room tonight,” said Davis.
After losing to Days Creek in all three meetings a season ago, the Warriors were pleased with how they performed.
“That’s a big win, opening weekend. Defending league champions in here, won convincingly. And who knows what the heck is going to happen the rest of the year,” said Davis.
Last Friday night, North Douglas started league play with a 44-10 victory over Umpqua Valley Christian. Aided by a 45-24 rebounding advantage, the Warriors were dominant including scoring 33 points during the second and third quarters. Thompson led the team in scoring with 12 points. Olds had 11 rebounds.
This week, the Warriors, who have moved up to fifth in the OSAA rankings, host Yoncalla at home on Friday. On Saturday, North Douglas is on the road taking on 14th ranked Elkton.