Hug delivered a crushing blow in the third quarter of Tuesday night’s High Desert League battle, outscoring Reed 26-9 in the third as the Hawks soared to a 76-63 triumph.
“In the third quarter we just didn’t come out with the intensity or the attention to detail that was necessary,” Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall said. “The third quarter has been haunting us the past couple games and tonight was no different.”
Reed immediately built on its 31-26 lead at the break thanks to a Devin Gray putback, securing a game-high seven-point cushion for the visiting squad for the third and final time in the game.
However, that was the high point for the Blue and Gold, which then had to watch Hug storm back with 10 straight points to take a 36-33 lead. That was just the beginning of Hug’s comeback
After Reed’s Kyle Ross banked in a trey, knotting the game at 36-36, Hug’s Robin Dhatt rattled home a 3-pointer from the corner. He launched a three from the opposite side of the court, draining a 3-pointer from the wing. Dhatt went back to his original corner and made it a 47-38 Hawks lead with his fifth 3-pointer of the game at the three-minute mark of the third.
Hug forged ahead by 14, 52-38, on a fast break layup by Norris Dupree, completing a 21-point swing on the scoreboard with 49 seconds to play in the third quarter.
There wasn’t much drama in the fourth quarter.
The lead fluctuated 13 times between nine and 11 points during a four-minute span because Reed simply could not get a stop on defense and Hug did its job at the charity stripe. The Hawks made their first 12 attempts from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. The home team sank 12 of 14 foul shots in the fourth and were 18-of-22 from the line in the game, sinking any chance at a Reed comeback.
The Raiders looked good in the first half.
Fans wanting a fast-paced boys basketball game got what they were looking for in the main event Tuesday night.
Both teams tried to run the other out of the gym and what materialized were offensive fireworks.
Reed and Hug went punch for punch early, answering each others buckets within seconds of each other. The Raiders began to pull away when the Hawks’ shots starting spinning out of the rim. RHS seniors Ross and A.J. Silva hooked up on a fast break give-and-go with Silva converting a layup that pushed Reed into a 10-4 lead 2:20 into the game.
The Hawks battled back as Andrew Johnson scored five straight points, cutting the deficit to 10-9.
After Dhatt knocked down a trey from way downtown to tie the game at 12-12, Dupree dropped in a runner, handing the hosts their first lead (14-12) since it was 4-2.
The Raiders answered with seven straight points to close out the first quarter. Ty Shepard benefited from a friendly roll and his 3-pointer with 5 seconds on the first-quarter clock gave Reed a 19-14 advantage after the first eight minutes of action.
Shepard opened the second quarter with a runner, capping the Raiders’ 9-0 spurt for a 21-14 lead.
Hug sliced it to a two-point game quickly, following a Johnson drive and Dhatt 3-pointer.
With 2:42 left in the half, Akenaten Bluehorse swished a three-ball from the corner, closing the gap to one, 25-24. But that’s as close as the Green and White would get until the third quarter.
Reed senior Dylan McKenzie stopped any hopes the Hawks had of regaining the lead in the first half. McKenzie followed his own miss for a bucket. He then swiped a steal and went coast to coast for a layup. He capped his own 6-0 run when his defender let him have a free lane to the hoop from the top of the key, padding Reed’s cushion to 31-24 with 17 seconds on the clock.
The Raiders enjoyed a seven-point margin twice in the second quarter. But they had to settle for a five-point halftime edge after Hug hit a pullup jumper with 3 seconds to go before the halftime horn.
“The first half I was disappointed because we missed a lot of layups and we missed a lot of shots that are usually going in for us,” Hall said. “In the first half, I was happy with the lead, but I thought it should have been a double-digit lead. Defensively, we had a little more focus and tenacity in the first half.”
Johnson led all scorers with 25 points and was 11-of-12 from the free-throw line, while Dhatt added 19.
In the losing cause, McKenzie paced Reed with 15. Both Gray and Shepard finished with 12.
Reed (5-5, 4-2 in Northern 4A) has another tough challenge when it takes on Bishop Manogue Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve been telling the kids all season, once we hit January, it’s game, one or two practices and then another game. So you’ve got to get over it quick,” Hall said. “Win or lose, you’ve got to get better. It’s going to be a tough test at their gym. They’re a tough, physical team. We have to continue to get better and learn from it.”