RENO—Reed girls hoops coach Sara Schopper-Ramirez is tired of using youth as an excuse. There isn’t a single senior on this year’s roster.
But after her squad failed to hit a field goal in overtime of Tuesday night’s 60-56 loss at McQueen, she didn’t know what else to blame.
“It’s like okay guys, I can’t keep using the excuse that we’re young,” Schopper-Ramirez said. “It’s not our second game. It’s not our first game. We’re going to have to find a way (to get) wins.”
Although it was both team’s High Desert League opener, the contest already had playoff seeding implications.
McQueen, which entered tied for first place with Reno, improved to 13-3, 6-1 in DI North meetings. Reed, which now likely must set its sight on the HDL No. 2 seed, dropped to 6-4, 4-3.
Needing four minutes of overtime to decide the outcome after both squads finished regulation tied at 51, McQueen’s Sadaria McAlister took over. Arguably the best athlete in the DI North, she outscored Reed by herself, 6-4, in the extra period.
McAlister finished with a game-high 19 points despite having just seven after three quarters. All four of Reed’s overtime points came at the charity stripe.
“It just came down to that little extra part, grabbing the rebound, or loose ball,” Schopper-Ramirez said. “Or just to finish.”
Taylor Johnson, Reed’s leading scorer, had a clean look from three in the final seconds of regulation but her would-be game-winner rimmed out.
The Lancers built their largest lead of the night, 37-30, late in the third quarter before the Raiders methodically got back into it, tying the game at 46 on a Tori Baer bucket.
Reed came back from the seven-point deficit despite playing without sophomore standouts Serene Townsell-Williams or Johnson for much of the second half. Both fought foul trouble all night.
“It’s kind of a sweet, salty thing because I thought our bench played well. They held us in the game,” Schopper-Ramirez said. “I was proud of our bench.”
Freshman point guard Vanessa Hernandez led the Raiders with 12 points. Townsell-Williams, in her first game back from pneumonia, and Larsa Guzman, both had nine.
Reed opened the second quarter on a 13-0 to take a 22-10 lead midway through the period but McQueen used the three ball to get within three, 26-23, at the half.
McAlister ended Reed’s run with a triple from the corner with 2:58 left in the half.
McAlister and Kaila Spevak (13 points) then converted turnovers into buckets on Reed’s next two possessions to cut the gap to 22-17.
Spevack hit consecutive triples from both corners inside the final 90 seconds to leave the hosts down just three at the break.
The Raiders continue High Desert League play on Friday night at home against Hug. Tip is at 5:15 p.m.
“I’ll take it (Tuesday’s loss), but I hope we start converting into W’s,” Schopper-Ramirez said.
Cougars handle Hawks
If the Spanish Springs girls are going to make a push for a playoff spot, they have to win the games where they own a talent advantage.
And they did that on Tuesday night at home, besting Hug 57-20 in both team’s High Desert League opener.
The Cougars improved to 6-12, 3-4 in the DI North and sit just one game back of Reed for fourth place. The winless Hawks dropped to 0-13, 0-7.
Maya Dunn led Spanish Springs’ winning cause with 11 points. Anhelica Shanrock and Tabbatha Reyes both had 10.
The Cougs’ journey to a third-straight win gets drastically more difficult on Friday as they head to Reno. Tip is at 5:15 p.m.
Sparks’ struggles continue
The Sparks girls’ winless start to the season continued on Tuesday night at undefeated Fallon, 70-11.
The Greenwave improved to 16-0, 7-0 in the DI-A North. The Railroaders moved to 0-8, 0-6.
Arivelle Joson scored five points for Sparks in the loss.
Sparks will continue to look for its first win on Friday night at home against South Tahoe.