The Reed boys basketball team didn’t just remove that monkey Friday night. It ripped that monkey off and put a whipping on it. A call from PETA might be in order after the Raiders smoked the Hug Hawks at home, 70-52, for the Blue and Gold’s first High Desert League victory of the year.
“It feels great, especially for the kids. When you’re losing all those close games, it’s good to see all the hard work they put in has a payoff,” Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall said. “More than anything it’s great for the kids’ confidence.”
Hug had several four-point leads throughout the first 12 minutes, but never spread the gap further than that. The Hawks enjoyed a 22-18 advantage after Joe Taulaki knocked down two of his 12 points with 4:23 left in the first half.
Not many expected to see what happened next.
When Yuriy Ikovlev and Taylor Yancey were perfect on back-to-back trips to the free-throw line to tie the game at 22-22, it still wasn’t clear that Reed had stolen the momentum.
But when Aaron Greenblat gave the hosts their first lead of the night at 24-22, the momentum was just about to get going.
The Raiders scored the final 14 points of the half and then the first six points of the second half for a 20-0 run that propelled Reed into a 38-22 lead at the 6:43 mark of the third quarter.
“We just took care of the basketball. We had been turning it over far too much,” Hall said. “Then we kind of let the game happen. We talked to guys about what their role is and what their strengths are. Guys found their spots, got open shots and knocked them down.”
Practically everything was going down for Reed and in bunches.
A string of 10 unanswered points late in the third increased the gap to a game-high 25 points for the Raiders, 52-27.
However, Reed has given up big leads before and Hall knew Hug was capable of coming back.
The Hawks put a scare into the Raiders’ faithful by closing out the third quarter on a 7-0 spurt. They made it an 11-0 run by opening the fourth with two straight buckets.
After Hug center Tre Johnson scored on a fast-break layup to make it a 54-42 game with 6:17 to go, Yancey knocked down a pull-up jumper. Thirteen seconds later, future San Diego State Aztec football player, Garrett Corbett, barreled his way to the hoop for a layup and foul. He converted the three-point play to help seal the win.
Mike Powell led all scorers with 19 points, while teammates Yancey and Greenblat added 16 and 13 respectively.
Johnson finished with a team-high 17, including a one-handed high-flying slam in the fourth quarter that he hoped would ignite Hawks fans, but all it did was cut the deficit down to 18 with just over three minutes on the clock.
The 70 points was the most scored by a Raiders team that had combined for 74 points in its past two league losses at home.
Reed (2-12, 1-4 HDL) will try to make it two in a row when it heads to Reno Friday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.