The Raiders jumped out to a convincing 21-6 lead after the first quarter, leaving many to wonder when, or if, Reed would lead by as much 40 to enact the running-clock mercy rule. They didn’t. Tyler Sumpter drained a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to put Reed up 31, its biggest lead of the game, at 64-33.
Reed improved to 15-2, 11-2 in league meetings while Damonte Ranch fell to 10-7, 7-6.
But in what has now seemingly become routine, another lopsided win for the Raiders, there was something very different.
Gabby Williams, the best girls basketball player in Nevada, had her season taken from her three games ago after re-tearing her ACL. While her absence on the court is still fresh, it is not breaking news to the Raiders, who also lost Williams in early January last season.
Her absence from the bench, and the gym entirely, was new – very new.
Williams (a UConn commit), flew to Connecticut earlier Tuesday to have surgery on her knee Thursday.
“This was the first day I didn’t have her,” Reed coach Sara Ramirez said. “Obviously she is a great player on the floor but she has kind of been like my assistant coach the last four years. So I was looking for her a few times like ‘hey, what did you think about that?’ or just hearing her cheer teammates on.”
In what also proved to be a relatively new look for the Raiders, was the dominant post play of Nakiyah LeSure, who scored a game-high 29 points, and Tina Vernon, who piled on 18.
Without Williams, a developing post game could go a long way for the Raiders come playoff time.
“After we lost Gabby it was like ‘hey, you two have to pick us up. There is no one who can stop you inside,’” Ramirez said. “I mean Tina got to the free-throw line (4-of-8) because she is tall and we have been working a lot in practice. She is getting confidence in her ball handling and (we are) finding each other, working with each other, and it seems like it’s starting to click.”
The Raiders were forced to play a healthy portion of the schedule last season without Williams before falling in the North semifinals to Bishop Manogue but Ramirez thinks this time is different.
“Last year when we lost Gabby, we really hadn’t worked on it and this year I think because we had lost her in such a shock (last year), it was like ‘we have to be disciplined and run our offense’ with Gabby we run more of a flow game. Hey, get in the right spot, she’ll find you,” Ramirez said. “This offense is, we are going to work as a team, screen, roll, get to your spots and they’re doing it nicely.”
Reed led 37-17 at the break and took a 55-33 advantage into the fourth quarter where both squads scored 14 points.
Tyler Sumpter, who finished with14 points also reached double digits for the Raiders.
Taylor Nuttall had 17 points and Meagan Carlson added 11 points to lead Damonte Ranch.
Reed plays again at home on Friday against McQueen. Tip is at 5:15 p.m.