The Raiders went to Damonte Ranch Tuesday night and left with a lopsided 82-29 victory in prep girls basketball action.
The Raiders got their lead to the 10- and 20-point plateaus in the second quarter. Senior Micah Walker scored 17 of Reed’s 26 first-quarter points, helping the Blue and Gold claim a 26-6 advantage after the first eight minutes of the Northern 4A league crossover clash.
“She’s been stepping up. The last game we had she came out on fire and was just ready to go,” Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper said of Walker. “She’s been coming out and setting the tempo, and when she sets the tempo, we follow.”
Reed pushed the gap to a high of 29 points in the first half when the visitors scored seven straight in a minute span late in the second quarter.
Walker got a bucket to go. Gabby Williams went coast-to-coast for a layup for her eighth point of the quarter and Joanna Phillips swished a 3-pointer from the left wing in transition, making the scoreboard read 43-14 with 40 seconds left in the first half.
A long jumper by Damonte’s Emily Byrne cut the deficit to 43-16, heading into the locker rooms.
It was much of the same after the break.
Phillips handed the Raiders their first 30-point lead of the game when she came out and knocked down a trey 24 seconds into the second half, making the score 46-16.
Damonte’s only field goal during nearly the first seven minutes of the third quarter came on a 3-pointer by Darby Menghini. Byrne later knocked down another trey with 1:07 left in the third period, but the Mustangs were outscored 19-6 in the quarter.
After Byrne hit that 3-pointer, Reed’s junior post Nyasha LeSure scored back-to-back baskets down low and Cheyenne Faanes’ shot as the buzzer sounded increased Reed’s lead to 40 points, 62-22, going into the final eight minutes of action.
“They don’t relax. I think that’s why we’re doing as well as we are,” Schopper said. “It doesn’t matter what five are in there, they play every possession. I like it. I don’t want them to relax. I want them to keep playing.”
Even with a huge lead, Schopper wasn’t opposed to getting into her players. After Ciara O’Driscoll and Lauren Czarnecki scored consecutive baskets within seconds of each other for Damonte, Schopper called a timeout and made sure the Raiders were not going to get lazy.
What ensued was an 8-0 Reed run initiated by Phillips’ fourth make from behind the arc. Walker tallied the other five points in the rally on a 3-ball from the corner on an inbounds play and a layup opened up by a give-and-go with Sierra Hooft. Walker finished with a game-high 27 points.
Phillips added 14 points in the winning cause, while Williams had 12.
Reed (20-0, 13-0 in Northern 4A) hosts its final regular-season home game Friday against McQueen at 6 p.m.
It’s never a good sign when a coach needs to call a timeout less than a minute and a half into a basketball game.
The silver lining is that the timeout gives the team a chance to collect itself and respond. That’s exactly what the Reed boys basketball squad did at Damonte Ranch Tuesday night.
The Raiders rebounded from a slow start and gradually chipped away at the Mustangs, earning a 55-41 Northern 4A league crossover victory.
Damonte jumped out to a quick 7-0 edge 1:19 into the contest. That proved to be the largest lead of the game for the hosts. The Mustangs also enjoyed an 18-11 advantage with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.
However, Reed didn’t allow the Mustangs to gallop away. A Dylan McKenzie 3-pointer at the 4:22 mark of the first cut the deficit to 11-10.
Damonte answered with seven straight before Reed’s Erik Martinez banked in a 3-pointer as the first-quarter horn sounded, leaving the score 18-14 after the first quarter.
Reed kept the momentum going, scoring the first four points of the second quarter. The 7-0 run knotted the game at 18-18, the first time it was tied since the opening tip. Still, the Blue and Gold could not take the lead.
John Carlson and Jeff Turk combined for the next six points for the Mustangs, but the DRHS crew would go scoreless the last 3:20 of the first half.
Reed wasn’t much better though. The Raiders dropped in a pair of buckets to close out the low-scoring second quarter, trailing 24-22 at the intermission.
“Our rebounding in the first half was terrible. I can’t count how many offensive rebounds they had,” Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall said. “Loose balls and our on-ball defense were just terrible. Our offense was OK. But we just talked about coming out and going after loose balls, getting tougher.”
Hall found something to light a fire under his Raiders at halftime. Devin Gray ripped the twine on a 3-pointer to open the third, giving the RHS cagers their first lead of the game, 25-24. Four different Raiders knocked down shots from behind the arc in the third quarter, the second-to-last by Roberto Velazquez, which pushed Reed’s lead to 37-28 with 3:34 on the third-quarter clock.
Velazquez sank a 3-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter, padding the cushion back up to 42-34.
The Raiders didn’t want to just protect that eight-point edge in the fourth quarter. They wanted to extend it and take away any potential for drama.
After taking control of the game with some full-court pressure in the third quarter, Reed backed into a zone on defense and showed extra patience on offense in the fourth. The Raiders benefited from those improved looks closer to the hoop, scoring the first six points of the fourth quarter, while holding Damonte scoreless for nearly three and a half minutes.
“Our defense stepped up. We still had a lot of fouls. We mixed it up and went to a zone, and that actually kind of worked,” Hall said. “Our pressure got them playing a little faster than they wanted to without (point guard and leading scorer) Matt (Nuthall) in the game.”
Fast-break layups by Turk left the Mustangs behind by 11 on two different occasions. The home team never got closer than 52-41 with 32 seconds to go.
Turk led all scorers with 19 points, while Carlson had 11. The duo combined for nearly 75 percent of the Mustangs’ offense.
McKenzie and Gray each tossed in 10 points apiece for the Raiders.
Reed (7-12, 4-9 in Northern 4A) mathematically can make the playoffs but will need a small miracle. The Raiders must win out and hope Spanish Springs loses out. Reed’s next game is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against McQueen.