“Not what we had envisioned, but we’ll take the win,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said. “We’ve always struggled to play up here. They played with a lot of energy like they usually do. Fortunately we gutted it out, but it wasn’t pretty.”
From the start of the game, Reed was hitting everything but the bottom of the net. Missing wide open layups and uncontested jumpers, routine baskets were missed as if there was a lid on hoop.
“Tonight we didn’t shoot the ball well all around,” Hall said. “We missed I don’t know how many free throws, a lot of front ends. We missed a lot of layups and open looks. They turned those in to quick points. I think we missed three layups where they got the rebound and kicked it ahead and hit threes. Those were big swings in the game. It wasn’t our best effort offensively.”
Three minutes in to the contest, the Panthers grabbed a 10-8 lead before scoring seven straight to push their advantage to 17-8 with 2:17 left in the first quarter. The quarter ended with North Valleys up 20-13.
Still laboring against their cold hand from the field, the Raiders used a full-court press in the second quarter to create easy buckets and grab the lead.
Reed strung together a 14-2 run over a three-minute span in the second quarter and grabbed a 30-25 lead with 2:58 left till halftime.
“We usually rely on our defense to kind of get the energy up, pick up the tempo and create some offense,” Hall said. “It wasn’t there for us early but we stuck with it and we started to kind of wear on them and get some transition baskets off of steals.”
At the half, the scoreboard read 34-32 in favor of the Raiders.
Out of the intermission, a number of missed Reed opportunities handed the advantage back to North Valleys. The host Panthers led 41-37 with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
However, the Panthers’ lead didn’t last long as Reed recaptured it with a 15-5 run to close the third. The visiting Raiders headed into the final quarter up 52-46.
With the game still up for grabs, the Raiders clamped down on defense and held North Valleys (3-12, 3-6) to six points in the fourth, pulling out the win.
Reed was led on the night by Dylan McKenzie with 16 points. McKenzie’s offensive output was not his only contribution though.
“I thought Dylan McKenzie stepped up as a senior and defended and rebounded well,” Hall said. “He made plays when we needed to.”
No other Raider posted double-digits in points. With 29 points off the bench, compared to 37 from the starters, the Reed reserves played a large role in the victory.
“We had guys that came off the bench in the second half and they stepped up and made some big plays, hit a couple big shots,” Hall said. “I thought we had some different guys step up and make plays. All around, I thought it was a solid team win, if nothing else.”
Reed (7-5 overall, 6-2 in league) will have no time to fine tune things as it plays the second end of back-to-back games today, hosting Rail City rival Spanish Springs (9-9, 4-5) at 5 p.m. The Raiders will try to ease some bumps and bruises during the short break, including an ankle injury to starting guard A.J. Silva, who left the game in the second half and was able to return only momentarily.
“We have to go home and rest our bodies,” Hall said. “With Silva, I don’t know what his status will be. He sprained his ankle so we’ll have to just get him in the cold tub and rest him up. We’ll try and get ready for another battle, but it’s going to be a tough one.”