Baskets were at a premium against both the Douglas boys' and girls' basketball teams Saturday, as the Patriots pulled off a doubleheader sweep of Alliance, Neb., at home.
The girls' team won 50-37 while the boys shut down the Bulldogs in the second half in a 76-43 win.
Douglas boys pull away in second half
Coming out of the locker room in the second half, Douglas coach Travis Miller had a simple message to his team, up 34-25 at the time.
Impose your will.
"I knew if we could play defense, we can make shots. We just have to come down, get stops and make it harder for someone else to score and I think we did a good job of that," he said. "We tried to limit fouls, we tried zone a little bit, but thought that they were just too good of shooters, and they couldn't get open against our zone so we stuck with that."
What was a close game at the half quickly turned into a blowout, as Douglas didn't give up its first point of the second half until there was 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
"The defense handled it really good tonight. That was our main focus in practice this week, and it worked out," Patriot guard Dylan Pourier said. "Going into the locker room we talked about our fouls, focused on our defense, and when we focus on our defense, our offense just comes."
Pourier ended the game with nine points in what was a balanced scoring night for the Patriots. Dan Hand lead Douglas with 11, Cetan Big Crow had 10 and newcomer Darius Dawson also had nine.
Alliance was led by Joel Baker who had 17.
The second half got off to a high-flying start for Pourier, as he threw down a dunk in the early minutes of the third quarter that got the crowd, and the Patriot bench, to its feet.
It's a good thing for Pourier that the dunk landed, because as he said with a grin, he was fair game to be made fun of by his teammates had he missed it.
"I got the ball, took a couple dribbles and then I knew I was at the gym and I don't know, instincts took over I guess," he said. "(If I miss the dunk) I'm going to hear about it for the rest of the season from my teammates. I'll hear from my coach how a lay-up is also worth two points."
When the game tipped off, it looked like it was going to be a high scoring, back-and-forth affair. After the first quarter, Douglas led 17-14, and pushed the lead to 34-25 at the half.
With their stifling defense, the Patriots also didn't take their foot off the gas offensively, scoring 24 points in the third quarter to end with a 59-30 lead.
Of the 13 varsity players this season for Douglas, 11 are seniors and the other two are juniors. Expectations are high for a team that is returning most of its team from last season.
"I think we can go all the way this year. I think we can take it to the state championship and execute there," Pourier said. "With this group of guys, I have no doubt in my mind. We just have to keep working."
Miller had a more measured approach, but he said he still knows his team is capable of doing great things.
"The biggest thing I tell them, and I know it's hard not to look ahead, but we try to take it one game at a time," he said. "There's no one we can overlook or look past on our schedule, because if we do we're going to be in trouble."
Douglas's next game is at home Tuesday against St. Thomas More.
Jordynn Toliver is the difference for Douglas girls
Alliance hung around, but was never able to get past Douglas as junior guard Jordynn Toliver scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Patriots first win of the season.
Douglas coach Duane Wince said the defense was the reason the Patriots were able to get the win after a 48-47 loss to Lead-Deadwood Friday night.
"We came out with some confidence. They shot the ball well and that always helps us," he said. "Our defense has been solid and the girls have been working really hard on that end of the game. We don't always have control of when the shots fall, so if we can start scoring some baskets and playing some good, half-court defense, it looks like we can be successful that way."
Confidence has been key for Douglas, as the Patriots have a year more of experience and it showed on the court Saturday.
"We had a lot of girls play more basketball this season in the offseason, so I think there's more confidence coming in," Wince said. "We didn't shoot that great (Friday) night. If we had shot a little better we probably would have come out of Lead with a win. It's just confidence, our girls have put in some extra time and I think it's going to pay off for us."
It was a tight game until the end of the third quarter. Douglas led 12-6 at the end of the first quarter, but Alliance was able to find some offense and cut it to 25-20 at the half. In the final four minutes of the third, with the Patriots leading 34-29, they went on a 7-0 run and went into the final eight minutes leading 41-29.
In the fourth quarter the defense clamped down, and Douglas outscored Alliance 9-8.
"Our goal is to get better each game, and I think we did (get better)," Wince said. "I feel like we took care of some stuff that we had trouble with (Friday) night. Alliance is a big team, and we're a small team, so we'll have to play better post defense and take care of the basketball."
Douglas is next in action against Hot Springs at home, Thursday.