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Talent, chemistry keyed Reed's success
by Dan Eckles
Jun 07, 2011 | 1183 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - The Reed girls basketball team, pictured above in the RHS courtyard Tuesday afternoon, had plenty to smile about last winter. The Raiders cruised to 26 straight wins and a third state tournament berth in the last four years.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - The Reed girls basketball team, pictured above in the RHS courtyard Tuesday afternoon, had plenty to smile about last winter. The Raiders cruised to 26 straight wins and a third state tournament berth in the last four years.
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From Opening Day of the Northern 4A girls basketball season last winter, everybody knew who the best team was. The Reed Raiders were the preseason favorite to win a regional crown and they did not disappoint, racking up lopsided wins like they were handling the most menial of tasks.

Reed rolled to a stellar 26-1 record with their lone loss coming in a 4A state tournament semifinal to eventual state champion Centennial. For its standout season, the Raiders have been named the Sparks Tribune’s Girls Team of the Year. The honor is chosen by the Sparks Tribune sports staff and goes to the top girls varsity team from one of the Rail City’s three high schools, Reed, Spanish Springs and Sparks.

“The girls are talented and to get that many talented girls on one team was special,” Reed coach Sara Schopper said. “Plus they were unselfish. They just clicked.”

They clicked all season long. The RHS club put up seven straights wins in their non-league schedule, then breezed to a perfect 16-0 slate in High Desert League and Northern 4A crossover affairs before picking up a trio of triumphs in the regional playoffs. That run was capped by an intense 45-40 win over Galena in the Northern 4A final.

Reed was so dominating, that before its state tournament defeat, it had only two games decided by single digits, the regional championship game and a 60-59 win over Miramonte, Calif. in the title tilt of their pool at the West Coast Jamboree over Christmas Break.

“We were all friends off the court too,” said Reed junior Sierra Hooft, a second-team all-league pick. “We worked well together because we were good outside of basketball. It was a goal from the beginning to hang a banner, but we still tried to focus on one game at a time.”

The local team earned plenty of accolades when the league’s end-of-the-year awards were released. Senior Micah Walker was named the HDL’s player of the year after averaging 17 points and six rebounds per game. The Raiders’ captain was a four-year varsity player for the Raiders and helped Reed to three state tournament appearances in her tenure.

“I got to play under some pretty great seniors from my freshman year on,” Walker said. “I wanted to be that kind of senior when it was my turn. We had great leadership personalities, but I definitely wanted to be a good senior captain.”

While Walker led the way, she got plenty of help. Freshman point guard Gabby Williams and junior forward Nyasha LeSure were first-team HDL all-stars. Williams poured in 20 points per game and gave away five assists an outing. LeSure posted 16 points and eight boards per contest.

Additionally, senior guard Joanna Phillips and Hooft were second-team HDL selections, while junior forward Makaela Moore and freshman sharp-shooting guard Tyler Sumpter were named to the HDL’s honorable mention list.

“We were just such a unit. We were a family on and off the court,” LeSure said. “Starting with Day 1 of open gyms, we said ‘this was our year.’ We knew we had a strong team and we were going for a title.”

The 2010-11 version of the Reed girls basketball team is one in a long line of successful clubs from the east Sparks school. No large high school in the state has won as many games as Reed in the last 25 years. During one stretch in the early 1990s, Reed won 88-straight games, a state record at any classification. This Reed group seemed to have an understanding of the school’s rich hoop history.

“We always want to live up to the players who came before us,” LeSure said. “Playing for Reed is an honor. We want to put ourselves right up with them.”

Walker had similar sentiments.

“Coach tells us from the first day of tryouts. She says Reed has a standard and it’s not about winning this or that. It’s about playing 110 percent all the time. It’s a privilege to be a part of Reed basketball’s success and be on a list with those other teams.”
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