YAKIMA - Lynden Christian's 6-foot-3 sophomore Sara Dougan said she felt "really nervous" before the Lyncs' Class 1A State Tournament quarterfinal against Brewster on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
After all, it was the Meridian transfer's first time playing in the SunDome. She showed no apprehension in her game, though.
Dougan, who entered the quarterfinal averaging 3.5 points per game in somewhat limited action, scored 11 points and gave the Lyncs a tremendous spark off the bench.
She led LC with a team-high seven points at halftime and hauled in five rebounds.
"She has been getting better all the time and really has practiced well the past couple weeks," De Haan said of Dougan. "She seems to be going out there with more confidence all the time."
That confidence showed. She matched a season high in points and logged 20 minutes, 58 seconds. The low-post dweller even hit an uncharacteristic 3-pointer in the second quarter.
De Haan said Dougan's minutes have steadily increased, but he saw a mismatch opportunity with his 6-3 post against Brewster, which lacks a dominant post.
The Lyncs only made two field goals in the first quarter, and the way Dougan was playing, De Haan had to keep the sophomore in.
"When we gave her some looks early, she did real well with them," De Haan said. "They only have one post inside, so it was a tough matchup."
She also contributed on the defensive end, helping limit Brewster's offensive rebounding, which burned the Lyncs in the first half. The Bears hauled in 10 offensive boards the first two quarters. They only had four the rest of the way.
"Sara has stepped it up from day one at practice," Hollander said. "Every day she is getting better."
Dougan was pleased with her effort but disappointed with the end result.
"They had all their shooters out, and it was hard to compensate for that with No. 30 (Chandler Smith)," Dougan said. "All their girls can shoot. We worked our hardest, but you know ..."
Already making an impact, with two years left and a 6-3 frame to work with, Dougan could become a force as an upperclassman. For now, though, she's focused on helping LC earn two more wins and a fourth-place trophy.
"I think we need to use this feeling we have right now and really bring it these next couple of days," Dougan said.
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