Ask them for a second choice, and many of them would choose a player who has flown under the radar for the past two seasons.
Looking at senior Sierra Hooft, she’s not the most intimidating presence on the court. She’s not the flashiest player out there or the fastest or the tallest. She just goes about her business.
“I think working hard and hustling definitely pays off. You don’t have to be in the spotlight to be rewarded. You can get points and stuff other ways,” Hooft said.
Hooft just does things the right way. She works hard and hustles non-stop. She is a player who truly earns her points, which is every coach’s dream. Hooft is like the Tim Tebow of Reed girls hoops. However, she has the talent to match her work ethic.
“She’s our hustler player that’s for sure. She picks up the boards and runs the floor well. I’m glad we have her. She’s one of the best players on the team obviously,” Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper said. “She’s a good kid. She’s easy to coach. She’s a 4.0 student and always out there trying to learn and get better. I wish I had her for basketball year-round, but she does track and volleyball. She’s a heck of a basketball player, and I think she could go to the next level. She’s built for it athletically.”
Hooft is a valuable commodity for the Raiders. She’s a rare player who can create her own offense, whether it be from swiping a steal and going coast-to-coast for a layup or putting in an offensive rebound she earned with her hustle. Hooft can also knock down an open 3-pointer or drive to the basket in half-court sets.
While Hooft doesn’t need Williams to set up her scoring plays, the Raider duo has a special connection on the court, and it has allowed Hooft to come into her own.
“I think confidence and maturity, just realizing she does have a role on this team,” Schopper said. “She plays really well with Gabby. Gabby finds Sierra anywhere and Sierra knows where to cut for her, so it’s perfect. People don’t realize how long Sierra is because she doesn’t look like it, but all of a sudden these arms come out. She has a really good nose for the ball. Defensively, she’ll pick up those steals or sloppy passes. She anticipates really well.”
Hooft has been on Varsity since her freshman year, but she didn’t see extended playing time in her first two seasons. It wasn’t until her junior campaign that she started getting noticed.
Last year, she averaged about 10 points per game and earned second team all-league honors. This year she still surprises her own coach.
Hooft is so quiet and efficient with her scoring that it’s not rare for Schopper to look at the book after a game and be shocked how many points Hooft finished with. That happened in games against Spanish Springs and Hug in which Hooft led all scorers with 25 and 19 points respectively.
“That means she’s making an impact. People know who she is,” Schopper said of the recognition Hooft is receiving. “Sophomore year no one knew of her. Last year, everybody would look at their books and say ‘whoa it wasn’t Gabby or Nyasha (LeSure) who killed us. It was Sierra who killed us.’ This year she’s doing it again…She’s got a good head. She never gets down. She plays 110 percent all the time. She’s one of the big keys to us winning. She’s the foundation that keeps it all together.”
Hooft admits that she doesn’t mind being overlooked with stars like Williams and LeSure on the team this year and Micah Walker on the squad last year. It helps open up the game for her. Plus, it makes it so much more enjoyable being a big part of the team’s success. The Blue and Gold still has not lost to a Northern Nevada school the past two seasons.
“I like it. I love this team, too. We all have a big role though, having such a small team. We all matter,” Hooft said.