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Reed girls fall to Damonte in regional quarterfinal
by Dan Eckles
Feb 18, 2014 | 1300 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed senior Brooke Cervantes (in white) tries to evade the defensive pressure of pursuing Damonte Ranch defenders during fourth-quarter action of the Raiders' home playoff loss Tuesday night.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed senior Brooke Cervantes (in white) tries to evade the defensive pressure of pursuing Damonte Ranch defenders during fourth-quarter action of the Raiders' home playoff loss Tuesday night.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed High's senior shooting guard Tyler Sumpter, one of the top players in the state, tries to hold back emotion while walking off the court, following the Raiders' playoff loss to Damonte Ranch Tuesday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed High's senior shooting guard Tyler Sumpter, one of the top players in the state, tries to hold back emotion while walking off the court, following the Raiders' playoff loss to Damonte Ranch Tuesday.
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When Ed Shepard stepped down as Reed High's girls basketball coach following the 1996-97 season, it's safe safe to say he never thought he'd win another playoff game in the RHS gym.

But that's exactly what he got Tuesday night. Seventeen years after stepping down from Reed, and two coaching gigs later, he led his Damonte Ranch girls hoops program to a 55-49 victory in a DI North Region quarterfinal at Reed.

Shepard, who led Reed to the 1993 state championship and two northern Nevada large-school titles (1993, 1997), guided the Raiders to the state tournament in each of his five seasons at the east Sparks school. Tuesday's triumph brought a flood of emotions for the former Raiders' coach and long-time Reed teacher.

"Tonight brought lots of firsts for our (Damonte) program," said Shepard, who is in his third year leading the Mustangs. "It was our first win ever against Reed and our first playoff win in school history. That right there is great.

"And then I've told the kids, there is a lot of history here. I used to coach here. Reed girls know how to win from their history. We've got to build on this and make our own history."

The loss is Reed's first in a regional quarterfinal since 2003, when it was upset by Sierra League No. 4 seed Douglas. This will mark the first season the Reed girls have not played for a North crown since that 2003 postseason defeat.

Reed, which was hosting a first-round playoff game for the 12th consecutive year, was done in by a disastrous third period Tuesday. The Raiders trailed by only two points at halftime, 26-24, but watched Damonte Ranch take firm control of the contest in the following eight minutes.

The visiting Mustangs scored the first eight points of the third period en route to ripping off a 20-7 run through the initial 6:56 of the quarter. Taylor Nuttall capped the key spurt with a mid-range jumper at the 1:04 mark of the third period, forging Damonte Ranch on top 46-31.

The Mustangs' full-court pressure gave Reed fits for nearly the entire third quarter.

"They came out more aggressive in the second half," Reed coach Sara Ramirez said. "We turned the ball over a lot. They pressured us and instead of coming to the ball, we ran away. In the first half, I thought we handled their press fine, and then in the second half, we didn't. We didn't execute against it."

The 15-point margin proved to be the Mustangs' biggest lead of the night.

"We didn't know if we could press them," Shepard said. "At halftime, I told them we were right where we wanted to be, but I asked them if they could still pick it up a notch. We did a good job running the press … This is a big win."

Reed had some fight left. Reed's Tyler Sumpter scored six points in a quick 8-0 Reed burst over a three-minute stretch that bridged the third and fourth quarters.

Sumpter's runner with 5:58 to go in the postseason affair got the Raiders within seven, 46-39. That's as good as it got for the hosts. They could get no closer than nine points until scoring the last five points of the game, which came in the last 54 seconds of play. By then, the damage had been done.

Sumpter led all scorers, finishing with 25 points, more than half of the Raiders' offensive production. Nakiyah LeSure chipped in 11 points in defeat for the RHS gang.

"You're not going to stop Sumpter. That girl can flat play, but we thought if we could slow her down that would help," Shepard said. "She still scored, but I thought we made her work for everything."

Nuttall and Morgan Waller both posted 15 points to pace the Damonte Ranch scoring effort while Meagan Carlson contributed 12 points to the DRHS club's winning cause.

Damonte Ranch never seemed intimidated by the perennial power Raiders. The Mustangs jumped ahead 8-2 midway through the initial period. Reed rallied to knot the contest at 10-10 before Damonte Ranch grabbed a slim 16-14 advantage at the conclusion of the first quarter.

The two teams traded buckets for the most part as the playoff foes both scored 10 points in the second quarter. LeSure dropped in a layup with 1:08 remaining before halftime to leave the Raiders with a 23-22 advantage. That proved to be their final lead of the game. Damonte's Kayana Moore knocked down a short jumper in the lane as time expired on the first half, allowing the Mustangs to take a 26-24 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

With the win, Damonte Ranch improves to 14-10 overall and will now face Sierra League champion Bishop Manogue Thursday in a regional semifinal at Spanish Springs High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Reed sees its season end with the loss. The Raiders wrapped up their winter campaign with a 17-4 overall record. The season was a bit of a roller coaster ride for Reed. After dropping its first game of the season, the Raiders saw high school All-American Gabby Williams return to the lineup in mid-December — after she suffered a torn ACL in January of 2013. The Raiders won 17 of their next 18 games but lost Williams again in Mid-January when she re-tore the same ACL.

Additionally, Reed lost senior post Tina Vernon for the last three games of its season and wound up losing back-to-back games to end its year.

"This has been the most up and down season I've had in my nine years years," Ramirez said. "As a coach, you expect some things to not go your way, but I feel bad for my five seniors, who have had so much success, even winning a state title two years ago, to go out like this."
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