That all changed Saturday at Carson High in the Northern 4A championship final. Galena gave Reed all it could handle before succumbing in the final minute. Reed made six straight free throws in the final 52 seconds to hold off Galena and capture a 45-40 triumph, winning its first regional title since 2007 and capturing the North’s lone berth into next week’s state tournament.
“We’ve had a lot of lopsided games,” Reed coach Sara Schopper said. “I’m proud of our girls. They found a way to win. We had to throw everything out, get on the same page, regroup and knock down free throws. This was the game it should’ve been tonight.”
Galena’s Emily Burns knocked down two free throws that tied the score at 37-37 with 1:36 remaining in the game.
After a Reed timeout, Raiders freshman point guard Gabby Williams made a driving runner from the wing that got the RHS crew back on top, 39-37 with 1:20 left on the clock.
Galena turned the ball over on its next possession and fouled Reed’s Micah Walker, who stepped to the charity stripe and knocked down a pair of foul shots for a 41-37 Raiders advantage with 52 ticks to go.
The Grizzlies weren’t done. Taylor Shaller dropped a 3-point bomb with 42 seconds left and Galena got back to within one, 41-40.
Reed proceeded to secure the victory as Walker converted two more free throws with 26 seconds left and Williams buried a pair with 7.3 seconds remaining.
“I’ve very proud of our kids, but we went in thinking we were prepared. We didn’t want to be close. We wanted to win. And we thought we could,” Galena coach Karen Friel said.
Early on, it looked like the Raiders were set to post another blowout win. Galena led 5-2 a minute into the game, but Reed responded, reeling off a 19-4 run to finish the first quarter.
Reed forced 12 Galena turnovers in the first quarter and turned many of them into easy transition layups.
The second quarter was a different story. Galena stopped being so generous. The Grizz finished the second quarter with only two turnovers and outscored Reed 14-4 in the second eight minutes. By halftime, Reed’s lead had been cut to 25-23.
“I thought our zone really slowed them down. We were able to control penetration and still get out on shooters,” Friel said. “In the second quarter we calmed down. You can’t let them play the pace they want to play. You can’t make long passes and turn it over. If you control your turnovers, you give yourself a chance.”
Shaller opened the second-half scoring for Galena by draining a trey that forged the Grizzlies ahead 26-25. Unfortunately for the south Reno school, it was their only points of the period. The scoring pace slowed significantly in the third period. The two teams combined for just six points in the quarter and neither team scored in the final 5:22 of the period.
“It was a big-time game, the kind of game that gets you ready for the next level,” Schopper said. “I told our girls we were going to win it in the fourth quarter. We had to take care of the ball and finish. We had to put the pressure on them. We had to ‘D’ up. Our girls were flying all over the floor.”
At the 6:09 mark of the fourth quarter, Burns made a runner in the lane that left Galena down 31-30. Reed scored the next six points, capped by a Tyler Sumpter 3-pointer, to grab a 37-30 edge.
However, Galena answered with a 7-0 run, capped by Burns’ late free throws and tied the game at 37s to set the stage for the late-game drama.
Reed helped its cause in a big way by winning the turnover margin 25-17, but Galena was able to hang around in part thanks to a 34-24 rebounding advantage.
The Raiders finished 16-of-51 (31 percent) shooting from the field while Galena was 14-40 (35 percent).
Walker finished with 20 points and nine rebounds to lead Reed, while Williams added 16 points and 10 boards for the Raiders. Galena held the rest of Reed’s roster nine points.
“It was different,” Williams said of being in a close game. “There were a lot of butterflies in our stomach, saying like ‘can we do this?’ But the closer the game got, we just wanted it more. We expected a close game. We knew Galena was prepared, but so were we.”
Burns put 14 points for Galena while Amanda Seabert chipped in 11 in defeat.
Reed must now prepare for the state tournament, which opens Thursday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.