SUTHERLIN — When you have the thoroughbreds, you might as well let them run.
That’s the strategy Douglas High employed Wednesday night against Glide in the second annual Bill Spelgatti Invitational boys basketball tournament. The Trojans played fast and coaxed the Wildcats into doing the same thing.
With Quinden Parson collecting steals right, left and in the middle throughout the first three quarters, Douglas built a respectable lead and the boys of Troy held on in the final three minutes for the 51-45 victory.
“I think that will be one of our strengths this year,” DHS coach Joshua Heacock said. “We can use that speed and size to tire people out, and with our length we can see the floor and get the ball out.
“The kids were catching that vision and doing that tonight.”
What the Trojans weren’t doing — consistently — was making their shots. That, however, is correctable and something Heacock believes will happen as the team improves from practice to practice.
“We’re on a progression,” he said. “We tend to prepare for the middle of the season so we can peak at league. I expected some rustiness and that we’ll get better and better and peak when league hits.”
All of that was evident against the Wildcats, who were not as quick but had strengths of their own on display.
Sophomore Dillon Towne, though bothered by foul trouble, was more than most of the Trojans could handle near the paint, finishing with a game-high 18 points. Add in seniors Kyler Leischner and Trevor Mehlhoff, and the Wildcats can be potent in the half-court.
They showed just that after Douglas pulled out to a 16-point lead at 51-35 with four minutes remaining. Towne, Leischner, Cyller Cunningham and Will Strader combined on a 10-0 run to end the game and cause some concern among the Trojan faithful.
“Dillon’s a sophomore who’s made huge strides in one year,” Wildcats coach Jeff Smith said. “I told his teammates to give him huge props — he just had a breakout game.”
“As a freshman last year, Glide beat us on our floor, and he showed it again tonight,” Heacock said of Towne. “He uses his body well and you can’t back off that guy. He’s going to give a lot of teams a lot of headaches.
“They’re big and strong and they’re always well-coached. Those guys play hard together.”
That lunchpail approach is what kept the Wildcats close throughout the contest, even though they got caught up in the more frenetic pace the hard-running Trojans crave.
“I told the team before the game that they’re long, they’re quick and they’re going to try to get you into the YMCA, street ball, and we fell into that,” Smith said. “I don’t mind uptempo a little bit, but we need to learn time of the game, score of the game, possession of the game and not get drawn into that type of game. We don’t have the athletes that they have.”
Starting with Parson, a junior who seemingly had as many steals as he had points (12) in a complete-game effort.
“Quinden has put a ton of work in,” Heacock said. “He’s a student of the game and he’s worked hard on the defensive end and the offensive end. He can guard their best player, pick them and then cause all kinds of problems at the other end.”
Chad Barnhart had 10 points and Damon Landry had nine, while Taylor Exceen, Parker Sheppard and Chad Barnhart all added eight points for the Trojans.
Sheppard scored the Trojans’ final seven points in a 1:12 burst of the fourth quarter, while Barnhart did all of his scoring in the first six minutes of the third quarter when Douglas first stretched the lead to 10 at 35-25. The Trojans had led 25-18 at the half.
Leischner had 12 points for the Wildcats.
Both Douglas and Glide have today off and will be able to get in practices before playing Friday. DHS will play the winner between Salem Academy and a traveling team from Australia, while the Wildcats will get the loser from the same game.
GLIDE (45) — Dillon Towne 18, Leischner 12, Strader 5, Mehlhoff 4, Moyer 4, Cunningham 2, Roark, Castrignano, DeBell.
DOUGLAS (51) — Quinden Parson 12, Landry 9, Exceen 8, Barnhart 10, Sheppard 8, Jung 4, Gibson, Johnson, Scheler.
Glide 8 10 11 15 — 45
Douglas 13 12 14 12 — 51
3-Point Field Goals — Glide 1 (Strader), Douglas 3 (Exceen 2, Landry 1). Team Fouls — Glide 7, Douglas 13.
Sports reporter Aaron Yost can be reached at 541-957-4219 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @aaron_yost.