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Strong second half pushes Reed past McQueen
by Nathan Shoup
Feb 07, 2014 | 895 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed's Brooke Cervantes dribbles around McQueen's Haley Webbert in Friday night's 74-55 home win over the Lancers. Cervantes finished with a game-high (and season-high) 22 points.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed's Brooke Cervantes dribbles around McQueen's Haley Webbert in Friday night's 74-55 home win over the Lancers. Cervantes finished with a game-high (and season-high) 22 points.
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For the first time in four games, the Reed girls basketball team was tested, early on at least. But as it’s been most of the year, the Raiders pulled out a win, downing McQueen at home, 74-55, Friday night.

Reed improved to 16-2, 12-2 in league games with the win while McQueen dropped to 7-14, 4-10.

The lead changed hands five times in the first quarter before both squads took a 19-all tie into the second quarter. Both squads hit a pair of buckets to start the second quarter before Reed went on a 9-0 run to a grab a 32-23 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

In the absence of Gabby Williams, Reeds’ phenom who tore her ACL and will miss the rest of the season, the Raiders have relied on bigs Tina Vernon and Nakiyah LeSure to help fill the offensive void. That plan was partially put on hold Friday night after Vernon was assessed a double technical foul early in the first quarter after getting tangled up fighting for a loose ball – Reed led 9-8 at that point. She watched the rest of the game from the sideline.

“I think that honestly kind of took the momentum of out it because we have been running a lot through our bigs,” Reed coach Sara Ramirez said. “So our big is gone, who are going to play? Who is going to play in the middle of that zone? So it was just kind of adjusting to that and learning to run something different.”

With Vernon out, LeSure finished with 16 points – the third highest total for the Raiders.

Reed led by as much as 11 with 1:03 left in the first half after a Brooke Cervantes fast break layup before taking a 42-35 lead into the locker room.

Cervantes finished with a season-high 22 points to lead the Raiders.

“This is a perfect time to start peaking Brooke let’s just keep doing it,” Ramirez joked. “That’s what I keep hoping everybody will have a really good game under their belt before playoffs start (two regular season games remain) and then hopefully all five of us when we’ll be on the same page going into the playoffs.”

Leading 45-39 early in the third quarter, the Raiders closed the period on a 12-3 run to go in front 15 with eight minutes to play.

Sadira McAlister (14 points) scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter on an eight-foot baseline jumper to cut the gap to 13 but the Lancers would not draw any closer.

Tyler Sumpter (21 points) scored on an in-bounds play on Reed’s next possession, which was followed by a Cervantes triple to extend the gap to 18.

TT McFalls went coast to coast and hit a six-foot jumper in the paint to put Reed up 20 – its biggest lead of the game – with 1:56 left.

Christina Farman led the Lancers with 17 points.

Friday’s win was Reed’s third game since Williams was ruled out for the season and Ramirez said she likes what she is seeing from her group.

“If we don’t lose our composure ... I think we are actually peaking right where we are supposed to be,” Ramirez said. “I’ve watched (LeSure) step up. I’ve watched Tina (Vernon) step up. I’ve watched (Cervantes) step up and I love how Tyler (Sumpter) is handling the ball right now.”

With the High Desert League’s two seed secured, the Raiders start the final week of the regular season Tuesday at North Valleys. Tip is at 5:15 p.m.

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