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Peacon looks to power Reed to postseason
by Aaron Retherford
Dec 21, 2009 | 1370 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file/John Byrne - Reed senior Danielle Peacon (seen here last season) will try to lead the Raiders back to the regional championship game.
Tribune file/John Byrne - Reed senior Danielle Peacon (seen here last season) will try to lead the Raiders back to the regional championship game.
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When Reed's Danielle Peacon transferred to the east Sparks school prior to her sophomore year, she was entering an established girls basketball powerhouse.

Peacon didn't have to worry about being the focal point of the Raiders ' system as there were talented seniors in each of the past two years that went on to play Division-I college basketball.

But this year, Peacon is the senior who will go on to play D-I hoops.

One year after averaging 19.5 points and 12 rebounds in league play, earning her second first team all-league selection, Peacon is off to another stellar start in the young season. Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper said Peacon is scoring 22 points and pulling down about 10 rebounds a game.

At 6-foot-3 and athletic, Peacon has been catching the eyes of college coaches for years. However, she ended her college search in early November when she signed to play with the University of Pacific, joining former Reed teammate Erica McKenzie.

"I can't wait to get there. We talk about it all the time. I'm excited," Peacon said. "This is everything I've worked for. I've dreamed of going to college to play."

She's not the typical big girl though. Sure she's strong in the paint. But she'll also intercept a pass on defense and take it coast-to-coast for an easy bucket when the opposing defense doesn't expect her to go the distance.

Her versatility is clearly what makes her such a valuable asset to the Raiders.

"We kind of go as she goes, and she sets the tempo for us," Schopper said. "Many of our opponents this year aren't as big. It's huge because it makes teams change their game plans. You never know if they'll go to a zone or double her because you have to respect her when she's on the floor.

"Not only is she a good forward, but she's a good passer. If you get her the ball, she'll find an open teammate. She can even bring the ball up the floor. Her role isn't always in the paint. She sets up in different positions all over the place where we need her."

Peacon enjoys being the go-to player even if it causes the opposing team to focus on her and make it more difficult to score at times.

"It has its good and bad points. I like how everyone can depend on me, but when things don't go the way they should, it just sucks because it comes down on me," Peacon said. "I definitely can say I've been getting more double and triple teamed this year than any of my other years. I'm working on my passing to the guards now."

Peacon is confident in her teammates and their ability to knock down a trey when she kicks the ball out to them. In turn, that will open up her game since teams won't be able to just collapse down on her.

She's also starting to open up and be a team leader amongst many young players.

"She's our captain. She's getting more vocal. It's her first year being the main leader because she had Erica last year," Schopper said. "It's always hard for a girl to find her role, but she's actually doing pretty well. In practice, she pushes herself and gets after it.

"The only thing is she is harder on herself than anyone else is. Anytime she makes a mistake, she's on herself more than even I am. That's just something she needs to overcome. With her teammates, they're glad she's on their team because she plays strong defense and offense."

Schopper isn't looking forward to life without Peacon. Coaches lose star players every year, but it might be slightly different in Peacon's case because of her combination of size and talent.

"For three years, she's been our inside girl. When you lose her, you're losing a lot," Schopper said. "My hope for her is she's training the younger girls to step up in the future. But those are some big shoes to fill. You never know until they're gone how much they do for you and how much the game changes when you lose them.

"Reed High basketball will change. She will be hard to replace. I don't see a big girl like her coming through the program for awhile."
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