After a close first quarter in which Reed only built a 15-9 edge, the Raiders blew open the game with a dominant second quarter.
After Hug closed the gap to four points with a pair of free throws six seconds into the period, Reed rallied for 11 straight points and was never seriously threatened again. Junior post Nyasha LeSure picked apart the Hawks’ 2-1-2 zone, scoring back-to-back buckets down low to start the rally.
“It’s time for her to finish, and I think she’s stepping up,” Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper said of LeSure. “I think she’s peaking at the right time. She’s getting in there and being strong with it, and that’s what it’s going to take. Next week is playoffs, and one team goes to state. We’ve got to get there.”
Then it turned into the Gabby Williams show. The freshman point guard knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner, but then she showed what she can do in the open floor. Williams pulled down a rebound and then sped past everyone, capping a coast-to-coast exhibition of her transition skills by faking a pass to the outside before going up for a layup. Eighteen seconds later, Williams found Micah Walker with a behind-the-back pass for a fast-break layup.
The string of 11 unanswered points left the Blue and Gold in charge with a 28-11 advantage at the 5:23 mark of the second quarter.
With 5:05 to go in the first half, Hug senior Jessica Voyles sank a jumper from the right elbow, cutting the deficit to 30-15.
That was as close as the home team would get. Reed junior Sierra Hooft made sure of that, putting on her own exhibition of defense leading to points. After converting a 3-point play, she swiped steals and finished off the play with breakaway layups, capping a run of seven straight points by Hooft.
A Cheyenne Faanes deep 2-pointer bumped the rally to 9-0 for the visitors, pushing the lead to 39-15.
That’s how the margin would stay heading into the second half thanks to Walker dropping in a runner at the halftime buzzer, giving the Raiders a 41-17 edge.
Reed outscored Hug 26-6 in the second quarter.
Hooft had a solid third quarter as well, tallying six more points. But it was Williams who helped the Raiders increase the lead the most in the third period, scoring eight of her game-high 21 points. LeSure added six points in the third quarter, helping the RHS cagers increase their lead to 61-27 through three quarters. The trio were the only players to score for Reed in the third quarter.
Hug managed to get some momentum for the first time in the game in the fourth quarter. The Hawks scored eight unanswered points over a minute and a half span to get to within 33 points, 68-35, with 3:54 to play.
However, Hug had to watch as Reed answered with a 11-0 run of its own.
LeSure finished with 19 points on the night, while Hooft added 17.
“Like I told her (Hooft), she is our secret weapon in the post the last couple games. All of a sudden here comes this great post player,” Schopper said. “She can shoot the ball and handle the ball. She’s a utility player who plays wherever we need her. That’s what is so great about this team. They’re all unselfish and play wherever they’re needed.”
Voyles paced Hug with 13 points, and Celeste Henderson added 10 in the losing cause.
Reed (22-0, 15-0 in Northern 4A) ends the regular season Friday night at North Valleys. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“One more game and then the next level. I think we’re ready,” Schopper said.