Both Hug and Reed suffered upset defeats Friday night, but they had to face off against each other in the second-to-last regular season game in hopes of avoiding dropping back-to-back contests.
Unfortunately for the fans of the east Sparks school, too many unforced turnovers did in Reed as it fell 66-61.
“We had a lot of unforced mistakes. You lose a game by five points, you look at possessions where we could have just gotten a shot. The law of averages says we would have been OK,” Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall said. “Offensively, I was very disappointed with our ball possession and execution.”
Still, the Raiders did out of the gates and fired up their fans.
Senior Kyle Ross poured in five points during a string of nine unanswered points by the Blue and Gold for a 9-2 edge two and a half minutes into the game.
However, Reed went cold for almost the rest of the first half, scoring eight points over the next 11 minutes and 49 seconds.
The Hawks erased a seven-point deficit with a 9-0 run and took that two-point edge into the second quarter.
Hug immediately built on that 13-11 lead. Sam Williams scored down low and Robin Dhatt knocked down his second 3-pointer, forging the visitors ahead 18-11, barely a minute into the second period.
Hall called a timeout to try to stop the momentum but there was no stopping the Green and White.
Approaching the two-minute mark of the quarter, Hug’s speedy point guard Andrew Johnson swiped a steal near midcourt and looked to take it in for a breakaway layup. But he laid up a pass off the glass for a trailing Williams, who slammed it home over the Raiders for the Hawks’ second 12-point lead of the quarter, 29-17.
While the inspired dunk caused one side of the crowd to erupt, Hug didn’t score again in the half. For the next two minutes, the Raiders plugged away and made sure the second half wouldn’t just be a formality.
Reed scored the last eight points of the first half — half of which came from reserve forward Deyraun Stamps — and the home squad would only trail 29-25 at halftime.
Stamps continued earning his playing time in the second half. A Stamps putback cut the deficit to one, 35-34. Later, he drained a trey from the corner knotting the score at 39-39 with 2:53 on the third-quarter clock. It was the first time the game was tied since it was 11-11 in the first quarter. Still, Reed could not regain the lead.
Hug scored eight of the last 10 points of the third quarter. A Stamps layup down low off an inbounds play kept the deficit at six for the final minutes of action.
“Deyraun was great tonight,” Hall said. “I was so proud of him. He’s very capable and has a lot of potential . All his teammates know it. Tonight he showed it. I was proud of him and Kyle. I thought Kyle played his butt off and some of the other guys, too. But at the end of the day, we were one stop short.”
The Hawks enjoyed an eight-point cushion five different times in the fourth -— the last being 64-56 with 1:27 left in the game.
Reed didn’t quit. Ross dropped in a three-ball with 54 seconds remaining.
Hug broke the press, but an inexplicable alley-oop attempt went out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Raiders.
Reed came back down the court and Dylan McKenzie drove to the hoop and scored, making it a 64-61 game with 27 seconds to play.
The RHS cagers had to play the foul game from that point, but let seven valuable seconds tick off the clock before sending Johnson to the line. Hug struggled from the charity stripe in the clutch, but Johnson made 1 of 2 shots during both his trips in the final 20 seconds, accounting for the final score. The Raiders couldn’t get any of their desperation shots to fall.
Williams finished with a game-high 22 points to lead Hug, while Dhatt and Johnson contributed 16 and 13 points respectively.
Ross had a team-high 21 points. Stamps was the only other Raider in double figures with 11.
Reed (11-8, 10-5 in Northern 4A) hopes to avoid a three-game losing streak heading into the playoffs when it hosts North Valleys Friday night for the Raiders’ Senior Night and Homecoming.
“Friday night is huge. It’s Senior Night and Homecoming, but more importantly, if McQueen won tonight, we need a win for a home playoff game,” Hall said. “That’s our focus. We’d like to have some momentum heading into the playoffs, but number one is we have to get that home playoff game.”