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Spanish Springs resident provides a little bit of everything for Huskies
by Dan Eckles
Feb 22, 2013 | 3561 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Dan Eckles -- Reno High junior Shalen Shaw commutes from her home in Spanish Springs to provide the Huskies with a valuable asset.
Tribune photo by Dan Eckles -- Reno High junior Shalen Shaw commutes from her home in Spanish Springs to provide the Huskies with a valuable asset.
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LAS VEGAS -- Shalen Shaw went to Shaw Middle School in Spanish Springs and enrolled at Spanish Springs, even going to the Sparks-area high school for the first two weeks of freshman year.

And then her world changed. Family changes forced the then 14-year-old to move across town. Her mother moved into a house in the Reno High zone and the high school freshman soon became a Reno High Husky.

Veteran Reno girls basketball coach Shane Foster was pleasantly surprised by the news as he knew Shaw was one of the top incoming freshman hoop players in the Truckee Meadows.

"It was a nice surprise," Foster said during the Huskies' pregame shootaround at UNLV Friday morning. "It was very unexpected. I found out from her father, Richard, who gave me a call. It's been great. She does a little bit of everything for us."

Shaw, who plays club basketball for the Nevada Basketball Academy (NBA), said the transition to Reno High wasn't too tough, largely because she already had friends at Reno High from her experiences with club basketball."

"I knew mostly the whole team," Shaw said. "I was pretty excited to go to Reno. I'd get the chance to play with a lot of the NBA girls ... It's been an amazing experience, a big adventure really."

Shaw was an all-league honorable mention pick as a freshman and a second-team all-league pick as a sophomore. She'll certainly be somewhere on the awards list for her junior season when that is released next week. During this junior season, she's helped the Huskies to a 27-3 record, High Desert League and North Region championships as well as Nevada's large-school state title.

"Shay does a little bit of everything," Foster said. "She defends and rebounds. That really helps us. She can guard bigs, but then she can also guard smaller, quicker guards. Because of her length she can play off but still bother them. She's a stat stuffer every night."

Shaw is flourishing at Reno High but it's not always easy. Her mother eventually moved back to the Spanish Springs valley, forcing Shaw to change homes once again. However, despite the move, Shaw opted to stay at Reno High School. NIAA rules do allow students to stay at their previously-zone school if a family moves.

"Reno High is a great school. It challenges me. I love all my teachers," Shaw said. "But it's hard sometimes. Depending on what time we practice, I'll take my brother and sister home after school and then go back for practice. Sometimes I'll just stay after school and then go to practice.

"It's definitely been worth it to stay at Reno, but when everyone else gets to sleep in until 6:30 or 7, I'm getting up at 5:30 a.m. Luckily, I'm a morning person."

There are times when that affinity for mornings does not make her the most popular Huskies player. There have been more than a few RHS hoop road trips when late night gab sessions and games stretched into the wee hours of the morning. In turn, the alarm clock was not the best friend of Reno players.

"My team kind of hates me in the mornings," Shaw joked. "I'm the one dressed and ready to go. I need some breakfast, but everyone else is still in their pajamas."

Shaw always been a steady team player, willing to do some dirty work, defending and rebounding. She's also averaged right around 10 points all season but her offense has picked up in the postseason. Shaw scored 13 points in a regional semifinal win over Spanish Springs and 15 in the North title game triumph over Manogue before turning in 10 and nine points in two state tournament triumphs.

"I feel like now I know what I need to do and when it needs to be done," Shaw said. "I just feel more aggressive. I don't feel as timid. Whatever needs to be done, I'll step up and do it.

"I love basketball and I can't really explain it. It's like a way of life. I love it with everything I have. It means a lot to me. It's just an amazing sport."

Hearing those words makes Shaw's father, Richard -- a former highly successful girls prep coach at Reed and Manogue, as well as a college hoops standout during his playing days in Alaska -- gush with pride. There was a time when he didn't know if his daughter had any hoop dreams.

"Early on, going to club practices, we used to get into big arguments," the older Shaw said. "I actually thought she might not play high school basketball. Then in seventh grade, she got injured and had to sit out her middle school season. That's when I think she found out she missed it, but there was definitely a period when I wondered if she'd go forward with it."

Shaw will definitely be moving forward with basketball. The 6-foot guard/forward has given a verbal commitment to play basketball at Boise State. Despite being just a junior, it's a decision she's content with.

"When I went up there, I felt like it was a great fit," Shaw said. "I loved the coaches, loved the players. It had very nice facilities. It felt right. I like how it's close enough my family can come and catch games or how I can drive home. It's far, but not too far."

Sparks schools may have missed out when Shaw took her prep career out of the Rail City but she's provided quite the spark at Reno High.
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