RENO—The Reed boys are going to the playoffs.
But it wasn’t in the fashion first-year coach Zach Sanford would prefer.
His Raiders gave Reno a scare on the road Tuesday night before falling 68-51. And yet, they backed into the High Desert League’s fourth and final playoff spot by virtue of North Valleys’ loss at Spanish Springs.
The Raiders (7-16, 4-11) sit just one game ahead of the Panthers (with just one game to play) but own the tiebreaker thanks to a home win over North Valleys last week. The Huskies (17-6, 13-2) wrapped up the league title with the comeback victory.
“It’s a building block. For a group of guys that are so young, it’s great to make the playoffs,” Sanford said. “Obviously it’s not where we want to be … But hey, you can’t argue when you make the playoffs.”
Thanks to a quick 14 points from Lincoln Turner and 13 from Jeremy Ramos, the Raiders led 35-31 at the break after leading by as much as nine.
The second half was a different story.
The Huskies used their impressive length and defensive pressure to hold Turner and Ramos in check, outscoring the Raiders 37-16 over the final two quarters.
“We came out firing on all cylinders. It looked like we couldn’t miss,” Sanford said. “I think we kind of shell-shocked them a little bit … I think we just a hit a point where the basket got a little bit smaller and their pressure picked up in the second half and that threw us out of sorts … They’re long , man.”
Marianos Kalderimoglou hit his second triple of the game with 3:10 left in the third to give the Raiders a 41-37 lead. Reno responded with an 18-2 run that all but ended it.
Karn Goraya was responsible for 11 of the points in the game-turning burst, nine of which came from deep. He finished with a team-high 18 points.
“He’s a good player. He’s going to hit shots,” Sanford said of Goraya. “He’s at home. It was his Senior Night. He was going to hit shots.”
Goraya’s flurry left the Huskies up 55-43 with 5:41 to play. The Raiders scored the next six to get within 55-49 but managed just one more bucket in the final 3:38.
Ramos led all scorers with 19 points. Turner finished with 14.
Reed, which cannot improve its playoff position, hosts Spanish Springs on Friday night in both team’s regular season finale.
The Raiders will then open the playoffs next Wednesday at Carson. The Sierra League champion Senators have not lost to a DI North team this year.
DI North quarterfinal matchups (next Wednesday):
Reed (HDL No. 4) @ Carson (SL No. 1)
Galena (SL No. 3) @ Spanish Springs/McQueen (HDL No. 2)
Spanish Springs/McQueen (HDL No. 3) @ Bishop Manogue (SL No. 2)
Douglas (SL No. 4) @ Reno (HDL No. 1)
Cougs come up big on Senior Night
By Mike Bradley, reporting intern
The Spanish Springs boys kept pace with McQueen for second place in the High Desert League with a comfortable 75-43 home win over North Valleys on Tuesday night.
The Cougars (15-8, 11-4) remained tied with the Lancers following the comfortable Senior Night victory while the Panthers (8-14, 3-12) were eliminated from postseason contention.
“The seniors’ job is to leave the program better off than it was before and this class can say they did that,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “It started defensively tonight. That’s what led to the easy buckets in transition.”
The Cougars didn’t miss a beat in the first quarter, ending the period up 20-10. Junior Josh Prizina set the pace in the second quarter starting it off with a breakaway jam. Prizina had eight points in the quarter and shared the high-scorer honors (14 points) with senior Ryan Anderson. Spanish Springs ended the half with a comfortable 40-20 lead.
North Valleys continued to struggle on both sides of the ball in the third quarter. Spanish Springs sophomore Jalen Townsell’s two-handed slam off a steal highlighted the quarter as the Cougars took a 58-31 lead to the fourth.
Spanish Springs seniors received standing ovations as they checked out for the last time in a regular season home game.
The Cougs go to Reed on Friday night for the final regular season contest of the season.
A win in the finale, paired with a McQueen home loss to Reno would give Spanish Springs the No. 2 seed. The Cougars would then host Galena next Wednesday in the quarterfinals. If McQueen beats Reno, the Cougs would finish third (regardless of the outcome against Reed) and would open the playoffs next Wednesday on the road at Bishop Manogue.
Railroaders miss chance
The Sparks boys entered the week already facing an uphill climb to get into the postseason.
After Tuesday night’s 55-49 home loss to Dayton (7-16, 4-10), the hill nearly became a rock wall.
The Railroaders (6-15, 5-9) fell into a tie with Spring Creek (10-14, 5-9) for the DI-A North’s six and final playoff spot but have a much stiffer schedule remaining.
The Railroaders close the regular season with a home game on Friday against Fernley (12-9, 8-6) and Saturday at Lowry (16-8, 12-2). The Spartans close with two home games: Friday against South Tahoe (12-12, 9-5) and Saturday against Dayton.
If Sparks drops both and Spring Creek beats Dayton, the Railroaders will have to watch the playoffs from home.
Tuesday’s loss came just days after a double overtime loss at South Tahoe.