But Wednesday night’s Northern 4A regional quarterfinal didn’t feel any closer as the Reed girls basketball squad said goodbye to 23-0 and hello to 24-0.
The Raiders dominated the slower-paced game and cruised to a 56-19 triumph at home, earning a berth into a Friday night semifinal at Carson High.
Last time the two teams met, senior Micah Walker got Reed off on the right foot, scoring 17 of her game-high 28 points in the first quarter. This time it was freshman point guard Gabby Williams lighting the fire in the opening period.
Williams scored nine of the Raiders’ 18 first-quarter points, including six straight, capped by back-to-back fast-break layups set up by her steals.
While Reed didn’t light up the scoreboard like it did by scoring 82 points at DRHS, it didn’t need to. The Blue and Gold’s defense was strong enough to keep the Mustangs at bay.
“Our defense was tough. Our hands were up and we played a lot of man tonight,” Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper said after her team held Damonte to five field goals. “We make shots difficult. We try not to make anything easy.”
Damonte needed nearly five minutes to erase the goose egg off the scoreboard, cutting the deficit to 8-2 on an Ashley Duke bucket down low with 3:16 remaining in the first quarter.
The Mustangs were within six points when the score was 10-4, but that was as close as the No. 4 seed from the Sierra League would get on the night.
The Raiders enjoyed an 18-7 lead after one quarter of play, and the gap never dipped into the single digits again.
However, it did take the RHS cagers a full extra quarter to surpass their offensive output from the Northern 4A league crossover matchup. Reed led 26-6 after one quarter in that contest, but was only ahead 27-10 at halftime in the playoff clash thanks to a Micah Walker layup right before the halftime buzzer.
Still, Reed held Damonte to only three second-quarter points on three free throws by Emily Byrne. The Mustangs went scoreless for the first five and a half minutes of the second.
The Raiders only managed nine points in that same span for one of their lowest scoring quarters of the season. Junior post Nyasha LeSure had five of those points to help the home team take a 17-point advantage into the locker room.
That cushion quickly grew in the second half.
Junior Sierra Hooft scored 11 seconds after the break and the Raiders were off to the races momentarily. Reed rallied for the first nine points of the third quarter and enjoyed a 36-10 lead midway through the quarter.
A putback by Duke ended the run. It was also the Mustangs’ first field goal in almost 13 minutes of action.
Again, Reed limited Damonte to three points in a quarter, taking a 40-13 lead into the final eight minutes of play.
Williams ended the third quarter’s scoring with back-to-back layups. She added eight more points to her game total in the third period. She poured in 17 points on the night.
“She was our top scorer, but she got up in the third quarter and defended,” Schopper said. “She can guard the best player on the opposite team and not need any help. She’ll make them work, and that’s what she did this last game. They (Damonte) were kind of running a stall, which was a good game plan. We just had to man up or they were going to stall the clock out.”
In the fourth quarter, another freshman emerged. Tyler Sumpter knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and had 10 of Reed’s 16 points in the period, finishing with 12 points in the rout.
Walker added 10 in the winning cause,
Byrne and Duke paced the Mustangs with six points apiece.
Reed (24-0) takes on Bishop Manogue at 7 p.m. Friday night. The winner will advance to the 4 p.m. championship game on Saturday for a chance to secure the North’s only bid to the state tournament.