Facing Reno in the 4A State Girls Championship at Lawlor Events Center on Friday night, the Raiders handed the Huskies their fourth defeat in as many meetings between the two schools this season while also taking home the program’s fourth state crown with a 56-51 victory.
“It is amazing,” Reed coach Sara Schopper said. “It is pretty amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better matchup than to come in here and play them because I knew they were going to give us a great game. Playing on the Lawlor floor, seeing their kids and our kids playing here with the spotlight. We wanted it. There’s no doubt about it. We wanted it and we came out and got it.”
Having watched Reno slay state power Centennial the night before, the Blue and Gold made sure the same fate did not fall upon them.
“That Centennial game said everything for us,” Schopper said. “It said when you come in thinking you’re going to win, upsets can happen. I’m glad my girls were here to watch that game because they realized you’ve got to come out and play. Reno is not going to lay down. They’re going to throw everything at us. We have to be ready to play. That’s why we jumped on them right off the tip.
“I didn’t worry because Reno High beat us six or seven straight times a couple years ago. So I told them ‘We can beat a team four times in a row. We just have to keep playing, keep going at them.’ I wasn’t worried. These girls meant business. They could barely finish school they wanted to play the game so badly. I was never worried. I knew they’d come out and do it.”
Many people believed the momentum of the upset victory a night earlier would carry over for the Huskies. Those predictions only fueled the Raiders’ desire even more.
“It’s super cool because we proved a lot of newspapers wrong that predicted that they’d beat us, proved all their fans, everyone wrong,” Reed sophomore guard Gabby Williams said. “Everyone thought ‘Oh, it’s impossible to beat a team four times, Reno’s prepared for you,’ but we’re Reed. We play Reed basketball and if we do that, we can win any game.”
Reno coach Shane Foster could do little but praise the Raiders for their accomplishment.
“They beat us four times. Congratulations. They’re a very talented team. You have a division I player in LeSure and then you have Sierra Hooft who is one of the hardest working kids in the state. On top of that Sumpter can shoot the ball and Gabby is Gabby. If you watch her play you know. She’s the best female player in the city.”
Schopper said it was her team’s athleticism that allowed it to earn the state title and down the Huskies a fourth time.
“We want it and we’re good. We’re athletic. We’re more athletic than Reno High. If we do the little things, if we box out and get our hands up in the passing lane and we make them turn the ball over, we’re going to find a way to win. Everybody wanted the ball tonight.
“This is my best team I ever had. We’ve been here lots of times. We got the posts. We got the guards. We got the shooters, we got the slashers. Most teams I had we either had a guard or posts, and no shooters, but this team is fully loaded.”
With the championship now in its name, the Raiders will get to raise another banner in their gym.
“That’s all we talk about,” Williams said. “We always say ‘We’re trying to see yellow, we’re ready to see that yellow banner.’ We look over behind our basket and we see ’92-’93 and that was the last time we won state and that’s all we talk about. We want another banner. I can’t even explain it. It’s so surreal. We just won state. There’s no team in the Nevada that beat us.”