While North Douglas and Elkton both scored baskets in the opening 20 seconds of the game, it was not a sign of what was to come. Instead of outstanding offense it was a foul frenzy as the teams combined four 33 fouls and 23 made baskets. But through the slugfest of a game Saturday night in Drain, it was the Warriors (20-4, 11-1 Skyline) running away from the Elks (13-10, 8-4) for a 36-24 victory to end the regular season and claim the league title.
“We got our 20th win tonight and we’re proud of that because it was against a pretty good schedule,” said North Douglas head coach Jeff Davis. “I think our league has a half-dozen team that are very capable on any given night… so it’s just a good feeling [to get this win]. That’s what the assistants said to the kids. Enjoy this, enjoy the day tomorrow and then we get back to work on Monday.”
While North Douglas defeated Elkton 43-19 in the first matchup of the season, Saturday's contest stayed close in the first half. The Elkton offense tried to capitalized on loose balls and turnovers but the Warriors were keyed in on scoring threats of Aspyn Luzier and Kieryn Carnes.
On offense, North Douglas controlled the majority of possession as they cycled through their sets waiting for opportunities that were few and far between. A Rilie-Jo Olds three point play to finish the first half gave the Warriors a 16-12 lead.
“Sometimes it’s a game of who makes the fewest mistakes and tonight might have been one of those nights,” said Davis. Adding, “Four points can be a big lead when your opponent only has 12.”
In the third quarter, the fouls went up as the scoring went down. There were 13 combined fouls in the quarter and eight combined points as the Warriors outscored the Elks 6-2. Elkton had shots at the rim but failed to convert as they struggled against the physical North Douglas defense.
“They are all over you. They’re grabbing and holding and (the referees) wouldn’t call it. Every time we try to make a cut they were pushing,” said Elkton head coach Rob Parker. “When you get knocked off your path and you’re trying to rebound and you’re getting hit. You’re going up for a shot and getting hit. It’s tough to get anything going.” Elkton had 22 turnovers on the game while the Warriors recorded 15 steals.
Throughout the physical game, that featured the Elks being called for an intentional foul, North Douglas continued to find ways to score. In the second half it was senior Abby Whipple leading the way scoring 13 of her 15 points on the game. Elkton scored 12 point as a team in the second half.
“Without a doubt, she will lead in some statistical category each night,” Davis said of Whipple. “She was a little too excited early but once she settled down, she did a real nice job.”
In the fourth quarter, the Elks hung around – thanks to outrebounding the Warriors 33-28 on the night – and tried to make a run late as they cut their deficit to seven after a Carnes three-pointer with just under four minutes to play. The Warriors finished on an 8-3 run to seal the win.
North Douglas will now receive a first round bye in the Skyline league tournament. The team will play on Friday night in Marshfield.
The Elks will travel to Camas Valley (10-11, 6-5) on Tuesday night to face the Hornets. Earlier this season, Elkton defeated Camas Valley 39-26. Camas Valley defeated North Douglas 21-18 this year.
“I want to beat Camas. I think we’re a better team,” said Parker. “We’ve just got to play our game. It is a tough place to play, though. We’ve got to knock all that out and play hard.”