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Commentary: Brief look in the mirror; Bold look through the windshield
by Nathan Shoup - Commentary
Jan 02, 2014 | 2218 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed senior Gabby Williams is one of the top players in the state and some believe could lead her Raiders to a state title.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed senior Gabby Williams is one of the top players in the state and some believe could lead her Raiders to a state title.
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Let me be the 53rd person to wish you a happy new year.

And since the last couple years haven’t really worked out, may you lose that 10 pounds and develop those washboard abs this year. This is your year, I can feel it.

With the excitement of what our culture has determined to be a fresh start, and the soon-to-be frustrations of writing ‘2013’ on your paper only to cross it out and squeeze ‘2014’ in on top of it, we reflect a little and look forward a lot.

I can’t speak for the whole year as I moved to northern Nevada at the end of August but what a last four months its been. The Spanish Springs and Sparks boys soccer teams both advanced to the state tournament. The Spanish Springs volleyball team won yet another High Desert League title. And the Reed football program asserted itself as the best in northern Nevada with its third straight North title (also its fourth in five years).

On a personal level, I have enjoyed every day of it. My initiation process into the

journalism field has started. As a 22-year-old writer fresh out of college, I have been already been snarled at, called biased and even had a few profanities thrown my way. So yes, this field is as glamorous as the legends say.

But all that is part of our memory. Now it’s time to imagine. Here are three recklessly-optimistic predictions for Rail City basketball programs heading into 2014.

1. The Reed girls basketball program will run the table.

At 6-1 this season the Raiders are doing a pretty solid juggernaut impression. UConn-commit Gabby Williams is back from a torn ACL but is not playing like she suffered the significant knee injury only last winter. For those who haven’t seen Williams play, I suggest changing that sometime this winter before you’re watching her on ESPN.

But the Raiders are not a one-headed monster. Tyler Sumpter has led the squad in scoring three of the last five contests, including a state-record 50-point outing in a win over Hug before Christmas.

Reed has already topped the defending state champions, Reno, on the Huskies' home floor and just ran through McQueen’s Silver State Slam’s four games with an average margin of victory of more than 30 points.

The state tournament is hosted at the University of Nevada, Reno this year so Reed could even manage an off-night in the North title game if it is to get that far.

The Raiders’ lone loss this season came in the season-opener against Douglas. They didn’t have Williams.

Reed coach Sara Schopper-Ramirez, Williams, Sumpter and the rest of the crew will hoist the state title trophy at Lawlor Events Center.

2. The Reed girls basketball team won’t be the only Reed basketball program to advance to the state tournament. Let’s hear it for the boys.

At 10-3 this season, 3-0 in league games, the Raiders are looking like one of the teams to beat in the North come playoff time. Coach Dustin Hall’s crew features legitimate length, athleticism and sniper-like shooting from junior point guard Jamel Ramos.

Ramos set the school record for three-pointers in a game (10), in a 72-46 win over Liberty last Saturday.

Two of the Raiders’ three non-league losses (Lowry and Galena) came in games four and five in a brutal five-games-in-five-days stretch to open the season. The Raiders were in a state of flux after four players were just stepping onto the floor after competing in the state football title game the weekend before and didn’t have enough practices in.

Reed returned from Las Vegas late Monday night after winning its bracket in a 24-team tournament. The Raiders finished second in their round-robin pool before claiming the gold bracket, winning its three elimination games by an average of 16 points.

As the boys state tournament is also at Lawlor this winter, Reed would advance to the Nevada Final Four by winning its North quarterfinal and semifinal matchups.

Lawlor is used to being (Wolf Pack) blue, not so much the gold. That will change. The Raider boys will join the girls at state.

3. The Spanish Springs boys basketball team will host a playoff game for the second straight year.

The Cougars sit at 7-6, 2-1 in league games — having played only one home game so far — heading into the thick of their league schedule. The record is not so three-dimensional it’s jumping off the stat sheet but the Cougars tested themselves with their non-league schedule, as usual.

The Purple competed in three California tournaments including a trip to San Diego last weekend that nearly saw them best one of the best schools in Oregon, Lincoln (Portland), before falling 49-46.

Senior phenom Kenny Meyer is averaging 19.6 points a game and is certainly capable of dropping 27 on a given night, when his team needs a win to clinch a home playoff game, for example.

After lengthy road trips, sleeping on hotel beds and playing against elite competition, coach Kyle Penney’s team will certainly enjoy the friendly confines of the Truckee Meadows.

Through 13 games, last year’s Cougars were 9-4, two games ahead of this year’s group, but had only played three games out of the state. The 2013-14 crew, has only played three games in the state.

Spanish Springs has a massive gym and it will be bouncing come playoff time for the boys.

Nathan Shoup is a Sparks Tribune sports reporter. He can be reached via email at: nshoup@dailysparkstribune.com
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