Galena girls fall to Reed in playoffs
Appeal Sports Writer
SPARKS – The Reed Raiders never fully activated against the Galena Grizzlies in Thursday’s semifinal game of the Northern 4A regional playoffs, but they proved to be too much for the Lady Grizz even when they weren’t at their best.
Kayla Williams scored 15 points and Erica McKenzie added 10 for the Raiders, who took a 54-36 win over Galena, the Sierra League’s third seed, at Spanish Springs High School to advance to Saturday’s championship game against Manogue at 4 p.m.
“Defense is our focus,” said Reed coach Sara Schopper, whose Raiders – the High Desert League’s No.1 seed – improved to 22-3 on the season. “If you hold a team to 40 points every time, you’re going to win.
“(The Grizzlies) scored 10 points a quarter. Our girls went out there, moved their feet, pushed the ball and ran them out of the gym.”
The Raiders used an aggressive press and man-to-man defense to befuddle the Grizzlies, who couldn’t take advantage of an off shooting night from Reed, which connected on four 3-pointers and got nine points from Oceanna Johnson and seven from MaryAlice Palmer.
“We couldn’t get anything to fall,” Galena coach Karen Friel said of her own team’s shooting woes. “Our help defensively on Kayla tonight wasn’t good. When we ran our offense and attacked the basket, we got some decent looks. A lot of times we didn’t penetrate enough, which turned it into the kind of game Reed wants.”
Only four Grizzlies got on the scoreboard against Reed. Colleen Kern had a team-high 15 points, Langley Iverson had 13, Amy Scott six and Colleen Mullins two.
A 17-foot jumper by Kern gave the Grizzlies their third and final lead, 5-4, with 5 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
A 3-pointer from Erica McKenzie started a 7-3 Reed run, which was capped by a trey from Jordan Rogers to end the period, 12-7.
Galena managed seven points in the second quarter and Reed led, 25-16, at the half.
Williams scored all six of her second-quarter points on second-and third-chance opportunities and dominated the boards offensively and defensively for the Raiders.
A McKenzie layup gave Reed its biggest lead at that point of the game, 38-24, with 14 seconds remaining in the third.
Reed led by as many as 21 when a Williams layup made it 49-28, with 4:55 to go in the game.
“We got our double digits (per quarter), but on a big court like this and with this crowd, it took us a while,” Schopper said of her team’s relatively cold shooting in the beginning of the game. “When you’re playing full-court defense, you’re not getting into your offensive sets.”
Schopper said she was surprised by Manogue’s 55-48 upset of Reno, but added that the Miners have been playing well lately.
“The key to (beating) them is a pressure game,” Schopper said. “We’re going to play a full-court game and pressure their guards.”
For Galena, the pressure is over and they ended their season, 20-9.
“I was hoping we’d give Reed a better game tonight,” Friel said. “They’re a really good team. I’m disappointed with the end. They had something to do with that. It’s always tough to lose in the end.”
MANOGUE 55, RENO 48
Junior forward Taylor Sylvester scored a game-high 27 points to guide the Lady Miners to a 55-48 upset over Reno in Thursday’s other semifinal game.
Only four players scored for Manogue, but with the win, the Miners (15-11), now three years removed from the 3A, will face Reed in the Northern 4A regional championship game Saturday at Spanish Springs High School.
Junior guard Kara Stock added 15 points and went 7-of-8 from the foul line for the Miners, the High Desert League’s No. 2 seed.
Reno, the Sierra League’s No. 1 seed, got 12 points apiece from Angela Ceccarelli and Raimy Novacek, but the Miners outscored the Huskies, 18-12, in the fourth quarter to hold on to its 37-36 lead after three.
Asked what he thought the win meant to his program, second-year Miners coach Bill Billinger initially found himself at a loss for words.
“I don’t know yet. I’ll have to go home and think about it,” Billinger said. “It’s really special, I know that. I don’t know what to say. I’m elated. At times tonight, I thought it wouldn’t be our day. The girls survived a miserable third quarter and came back in the fourth to beat a very good basketball team.”
After taking a 12-10 lead into the second quarter, the Miners went on a 13-4 run, beginning with a pair of free throws from the 6-foot Taylor.
Sophomore Ashley Armstrong scored the first of her eight points of the quarter (she finished the game with 12) with an up-and-under layup to give the Miners an 18-14 lead.
Armstrong followed with a drive to the basket and Stock nailed a 3-pointer for a 23-14 Miners lead with 5:13 to go in the half.
Reno cut the lead to five, but a Sylvester jumper and a 17-footer from Armstrong kept the lead at nine, 27-18. Manogue took a 29-19 advantage into the half.
The Miners went up by as many as 11 points in the third (32-21) before the Huskies went on 15-4 run to tie at 36, with 1:05 left in the third.
Sylvester had nine points in the fourth quarter, going 5-of-6 from the line, and Stock scored all seven of her fourth-quarter points from the charity stripe as the Miners quelled the rally to get a third shot at Reed.
Reed won both meetings this year by 20-plus points each. Billinger said the turning point of the season for his team came after its second loss to Reed.
“I asked them if they wanted to pack it in,” he said. “They started to believe in themselves. I knew what they could do.”
Saturday’s tip-off time is 4 p.m. The Northern 4A boys regional championship game will follow at 6 p.m.