Unable to capitalize on open looks and routine give-me baskets, a sloppy Reed squad shoveled themselves a hole halfway to China in the opening quarter, handing the host Lancers the first 16 points of the game, five minutes in. During the stretch, the Raiders turned the ball over on seven consecutive possessions.
A 3-pointer from senior guard Dylan McKenzie finally broke the dry spell at the 2:26 mark, but McQueen responded with a three of its own along with a layup to grab a decisive 21-3 advantage going into the second quarter.
“Obviously we spot a 16-0 lead and couldn’t get all the way back in it,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said. “We just didn’t come out with the right kind of focus and energy to start the game. Any time you dig yourself a hole that deep, you have to expend a lot of energy just to get back in the game. I was disappointed with how we started the game.
“I wish I could put my finger on it. We’ve had a bad habit here lately of just not starting the game the right way. Not finishing plays, not knocking down shots. I can’t count how many layups we missed tonight. It’s frustrating. I don’t know what we have to do, but we’re going to figure something out to get us to come out and start the game a little better.”
With the dismal start behind it, Reed clamped down on defense and held the Lancers to 12 points over the next two quarters, slowly scratching and clawing its way out of its first-quarter crater.
A 10-2 run for the Raiders to open the first five minutes of the second quarter cut the McQueen lead to 23-13. After the Lancers hit a free throw, Reed put together another spurt, closing the first half out with the score at 27-19.
Out of the intermission the teams came out slow as McQueen extended its lead back to double digits at 31-21 with 2:50 remaining in the third. A quick 9-2 burst from the Raiders capped off by a floater in the lane from guard Kyle Ross, brought Reed to within three of tying the game with the scoreboard reading 33-30 heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth, Reed would put itself a basket a way from its first lead of the game on three different occasions but could not complete the rally. Guard A.J. Silva hit a runner in the key to bring the score to 46-45 with 3:52 left in the game, but the Raiders would go scoreless the rest of the way as McQueen would make the final 11 points of the game.
“Our team showed some toughness,” Hall said. “We chipped away at it and stepped up our defensive energy and our defensive execution and got a lot of stops, which was great. It showed how good our team can be defensively. As soon as we really needed to get that one extra stop, we had it down to a one-point game two times, we just couldn’t find a way to get that final stop.”
Ross was the only player for Reed to hit double digits, ending the night with a game-high 17 points. McKenzie finished with eight points.
McQueen (14-9, 8-6) had three players tally double digits for the contest. Forward Dakota Allinson led the Lancers with 15 points, while Kyle Eckert and Kody Eckert chipped in with 13 points and 11 points, respectively.
Reed (11-7, 10-4) will look to address its habit of slow starts when it host High Desert League-leading Hug Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
“We keep talking about it,” Hall said. “Eventually you’re going to play a do-or-die game. All it takes is one bad start, one bad quarter, and your season could be over, and for some of these guys their career could be over. We’re just going to figure out a way to really have that focus for that 32 minutes where every possession is a battle. I think we’re starting to show glimpses of it, but there’s still too many lapses right now.”