“Offensively, we were really good. I thought we made a lot of good passes and good decisions, shared the ball,” Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall said. “Guys were knocking shots down. That was something we needed after struggling the last couple nights. I was happy with our offensive effort. Defensively, we lacked a lot of energy and focus. It was one of those games where we kind of just fell asleep.”
With a full complement of seniors to choose from on Senior Night, Hall set his starting 5 with all seniors and over the first three minutes, those seniors staked the home team to a 7-2 edge.
When some of the regular starters entered the game, that’s when North Valleys made a run.
Jalil Walker scored on a fast break, pushing the Panthers into an 11-10 edge with 2:38 on the first-quarter clock.
Normalcy came back to the Blue and Gold as the seniors and underclassmen meshed, allowing the Raiders to close out the first quarter with a modest 7-1 run. That left the RHS crew with a 21-15 lead.
North Valleys still trailed by six, 25-19, following a Walker jumper at the 6:35 mark of the second quarter.
From that point, Reed outscored the visiting team 16-6 to take a 41-25 lead into halftime.
Ty Shepard, one of the seniors who struggled offensively over the weekend when Reed scored 42 and 43 points, made sure the Raiders’ postseason hopes didn’t take a hit. Shepard was on fire from all over the court, scoring 13 of his game-high 20 points in the first half.
TJ Pascual did his best to keep the Raiders from pouring on the rout, scoring North Valleys’ first eight points of the third period, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Reed had its own long-range threat going as Ajay Bains swished home a three-ball, extending the gap to 18 points, 51-33, with 3:36 left in the quarter.
A deep two by Walker and a 3-pointer by Mauricio Varela made it a 13-point game, 51-38. That was as close as North Valleys would get in the third quarter.
Reed ended the third quarter holding a 57-40 advantage thanks to a Shepard trey.
The Panthers scored the first four points of the fourth quarter before Juan Rodriguez dropped in a 3-pointer for the Raiders.
However, that was the only bucket by the east Sparks school in the first 4:55 of the fourth quarter.
Seven unanswered points by North Valleys enabled it to cut the deficit to single digits, 60-51, with 3:33 to play.
A steal and coast-to-coast layup by Shepard sparked the Raider offense and increased the lead to 63-51. Shepard got another easy layup off a steal to give Reed a 67-53 cushion with 2:11 left.
Pascual’s third 3-pointer and a jumper by Walker from the foul line left the Panthers trailing 67-58 with 1:15 on the clock.
Following a free throw by Reed, Varela dialed it up from long range, cutting the Raiders’ lead to 68-61 with 33 seconds to go.
The Panthers allowed 10 seconds to tick off the clock before fouling, and Trae Wells made the first of two free throws to account for the final eight-point margin.
“There wasn’t a lot of energy in the gym tonight. I think the kids just took things for granted. We just didn’t have that killer instinct tonight,” Hall said. “I think they realize it, and I know we’ll get a better effort on Friday.”
Alonzo Vega and Wells added 11 and 10 points respectively for the winning team.
Walker paced the Panthers with 14 points. Pascual had 13 and Varela contributed 10.
Reed (13-10, 9-6) closes out the regular season at Spanish Springs Friday night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
After Bishop Manogue knocked off Reno High a week ago, the Reed girls basketball team controlled its own destiny if it wanted to earn its third straight High Desert League championship. All the Raiders had to do was stay one win ahead of the Huskies, which meant winning their final three games.
Initially, the only game that looked like it might pose a problem was the season-ending contest at cross-town rival Spanish Springs. But that’s why you play the games.
North Valleys went to the Rail City Tuesday night and did what not many would have expected -- it gave Reed a run for its money.
The Raiders broke open a thee-point game early in the fourth quarter and picked up a 60-46 victory.
“It’s just finding scorers. When people start holding Tyler (Sumpter) with a box-and-1, finding scorers is the hard part,” Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper-Ramirez said. “What’s frustrating for me is all these girls can score. I’ve seen them in practice. There’s no room for being timid or scared now. Everybody needs to be there on the floor. Just giving them that faith and having them convert it on the floor is the hard part this time of year. We found a way and we finished. It’s good to play close games right now. It was a good test for us.”
Reed held a slim 11-9 lead after the first quarter and two minutes into the second, it was an 11-11 ballgame, following a bucket off the glass by Stephanie Lyons.
Reed junior Brooke Cervantes nailed a 3-pointer, which initiated a 9-0 run by the Blue and Gold and it looked like the scare the Panthers put into the Raiders would be temporary.
With 2:09 to go in the first half, a Tina Vernon bucket down low pushed the hosts ahead 24-13 for their first double-digit lead of the game.
Reed still led by 10 (25-15) with 1:45 on the second-quarter clock.
But North Valleys stormed back, scoring nine of the final 10 points of the half.
With 10 seconds to go before the break, Haley Bowen made two free throws for North Valleys. The Panthers then forced a turnover near midcourt and Lyons laid in a breakaway layup at the buzzer, closing the gap to 26-24.
A runner by Bowen left the score tied at 30-30 midway through the third period.
The Raiders made it a two-possession game on a Sumpter putback at the 3:18 mark of the third. But Cervantes was called for a technical on the ensuing trip down the floor. Bowen sank both free throws, cutting the deficit to two, 34-32. However, the Panthers came up empty on their possession and would never tie the game again.
With 2:20 on the third-quarter clock, North Valleys got a breakaway bucket, slicing Reed’s lead down to one, 35-34.
Over the next minute, T.T. McFalls got a bucket to fall. Sumpter rolled in a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Cervantes made a runner as Reed took a 42-34 advantage with the 7-0 run.
With 13 seconds left in the third quarter, a Bowen trey closed the gap to 42-37, heading into the final eight minutes of play.
North Valleys made the first shot of the fourth quarter, but just over a minute later, Cervantes hit a triple, extending the margin to 48-41 with 6:10 to go.
Vernon followed with back-to-back baskets and the cushion went to double digits again, 52-41. There was no late magic left for the visitors as they could get no closer than nine points with 1:07 remaining.
Bowen led all scorers with 20 points, while Taylor Dockter added 16 in the loss.
For the Raiders, Vernon turned in a team-high 18-point performance. Sumpter chipped in with 17 and Cervantes finished with 14.
Reed (19-3, 14-1) will take on Spanish Springs Friday night at 5:15 p.m.
“Spanish Springs on their home floor and on their Senior Night, believe me I know. That was our whole talk. Their seniors are going to want to come out with a bang,” Schopper-Ramirez said. “We don’t have Gabby (Williams) on the floor, so every team knows anything is possible now. We have to know anything is possible now as well. We’re still a great team. We have great players. We just have to do all the little things like play great defense and try to keep them off the glass. It’s going to be a great game.”