Reed all but secured a playoff spot with a 53-45 win at Spanish Springs on Tuesday night.
The Raiders, who improved to 8-6, 6-5, opened up a three-game lead over the Cougars (6-16, 3-8) for the High Desert League’s fourth and final playoff spot with the win. Both teams have just five regular season games remaining.
“It was a big one. We needed to get a W,” Reed coach Sara Schopper-Ramirez said. “We want to be in the playoffs. That’s the goal. We’re so up and down, there’s no prediction right now.”
Reed freshman Vanessa Hernandez was the catalyst, scoring a team-high 14 points, including three consecutive triples at the end of the first half that flipped the script.
Even with Hernandez’s strong night, Spanish Springs found itself down just 36-31 with 1:28 left in the third following a Tabbatha Reyes three from the corner. Then it was all Reed.
The Raiders scored 13 unanswered points and led 49-31 with just 3:31 left.
“(It was) defense. We shifted Taylor (Johnson) to the middle of the zone where she can direct a little bit more,” Schopper-Ramirez said. “I felt she was anticipating better and she was getting some steals.”
Jamie Jurgensmier finally stopped the bleeding for the Cougs when she converted a turnover into a layup with 3:16 left. Her bucket sparked a quick 14-3 spurt to get within 52-45 with 38 seconds left, but the 18-point fourth quarter hole proved too deep.
Anhelica Shanrock and Alysa Domingues both scored 14 for the Cougs in the losing cause.
Tori Baer also finished in double figures for the Raiders. She had 11 after going 5-of-9 from the charity stripe.
The Raiders led 27-22 at the half thanks largely to Hernandez.
The freshman hit three-straight triples in the final 90 seconds that put the finishing touches on an 11-0 Reed run to close the half.
“That was huge for Vanessa to step up and realize ‘I need to take some shots right now and knock them down,’” Schopper-Ramirez said. “The confidence with her is growing every game.”
Ireland Bennet hit a jumper from the elbow to match the Cougars’ biggest lead of the half, 22-16, late in the second quarter before the Raiders’ flurry to close.
Domingues banked home a deep triple at the first quarter buzzer to give the Cougs a 14-13 edge. Their lead grew to six, twice, before the Raiders’ strong finish to the half.
Reed hosts McQueen on Friday while Spanish Springs will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak at Hug.
Both games tip at 5:15 p.m.