Reed had played McQueen twice already this season and lost by a combined 48 points.
But there’s an old cliché in basketball that nearly resulted in a resilient upset Friday night at Reed.
“It’s tough to beat a team three times,” Reed coach Zach Sanford said after his Raiders’ upset bid fell short in an 82-75 home loss to McQueen. “They know that. We knew that coming in. And we gave them hell.”
Reed dropped to 6-14, 3-9 in the DI North one week after nearly upsetting first place Reno in a 68-62 home loss. The Raiders remained tied with North Valleys for the High Desert League’s fourth and final playoff spot with four games to play.
McQueen, improved to 14-9, 8-4 but still sits in third place, one game behind Spanish Springs.
“Two Friday nights in a row, against two of the best teams in our league, and we lose by single digits,” Sanford said. “You can call them moral victories? Sure. But 6-10 is hard to beat.”
Standing 6-10 was McQueen’s Octavian Corley. As he was in the first two contests against Reed, he was the difference. The undersized Raiders had no response for the near seven footer as he exploded for a game-high 32 points—12 of which came in the Lancers’ 30-point fourth quarter.
Reed scored 28 points of its own in the fourth quarter as the two teams combined for 58 in the final eight minutes. Jeremy Ramos scored 10 of his team-high 30 points in the up-and-down final period.
“I think both teams kind of just got more comfortable and realized that the game needed to pick up,” Sanford said. “And boy did it.”
Reed trailed 52-47 going into the electric fourth quarter but hit just one field goal over the next four and half minutes and saw the deficit balloon to 70-50.
Refusing to go quietly, Reed cut it 78-69 with a minute left after a Marianos Kalderimoglou triple but ran out time to complete the comeback.
Lincoln Turner, who finished with 20, hit a triple to sneak the Raiders within 80-75 with 10 seconds remaining before the clocked waned to triple zeroes.
No other Raider finished in double figures.
Behind Corley’s breakout night, Guillermo Ramos and Garrett Ill both had 12 for the Lancers.
After about as good a first half of hoops the Raiders could have hoped for, they led 33-29.
“We did exactly what we needed to. Every shot was tough,” Sanford said. “Octavian, we challenged him and kept him off the glass. And we really made good decisions. Then we came out after halftime and their pressure kind of got to us and that’s when we kind of started to get away from what made us successful in the first half.”
The Lancers scored eight of the first 10 points out of the break to take a 37-35 lead and went on to lead by as much as seven before taking a five-point lead to the fourth.
The Raiders used a mini 6-0 run early in the second quarter to break a 16-16 tie and led the rest of the half.
Turner buried a triple with 1:26 left to give the Raiders their biggest lead of the night, 32-25, before the Lancers scored four of the final five points.
The two squads were tied at 14 after one quarter.
Reed now prepares for a season-defining week starting Tuesday at Hug and wrapping up Friday night at home against North Valleys.
“Next week is a big week for us. We have two winnable games and we have to be ready,” Sanford said. “If things go the way they did the first time around, we control our destiny. We’re in the driver’s seat.”
Spanish Springs smacks Hug
The Cougars kept pace with first-place Reno on Friday night with an 86-43 win at Hug.
With the victory, Spanish Springs improved to 13-7, 9-3 and remained two back of the Huskies and one ahead of third-place McQueen. The Hawks dropped to 1-18, 0-12.
All 12 players on Spanish Springs’ roster got on the stat sheet but Ryan Anderson and Marcus Loadholt led the way. Both finished with 17.
The Cougs led 48-20 at the break.
The victory set up a pivotal HDL contest on Tuesday night at home against Reno. With a loss, the Cougars will be eliminated for league title contention. With a win, they move within one game of the Huskies.
Tip is at 7 p.m.
Sparks falls at Spring Creek
The Railroaders fell to 5-12, 4-6 in the DI-A North with a 61-51 loss at Spring Creek on Friday night.
The Spartans improved to 8-12, 3-7, just one game back of Sparks which is fighting for one of the final six playoff positions.
Sparks will try to get back in the win column on Saturday afternoon at Elko.