Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year: Sherando’s Lauren Reed
STEPHENS CITY — There’s a lot of impressive numbers that stand out in freshman Lauren Reed’s first varsity season with Sherando’s girls’ basketball team.
She scored 38 points in her varsity debut at home in an 87-29 win over Liberty, and then followed it up with 33-point performance on her home court in a 72-57 win over Washington (W.Va.).
But the numbers that mean the most for Reed are the “2012-2013” that will be put on the walls of the school’s gymnasium to signifiy the team’s first district championship season in 16 years.
“It meant so much to be able to put numbers up on that board,” said Reed, who has been selected as The Winchester Star’s Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year. “We talked about 1997 being the last one all year so being able to add new numbers meant a lot.”
Putting up numbers definitely was something that Reed excelled at from the very first time she stepped on the court in a Sherando uniform.
Her 38-point performance (just three shy of the single-game record of 41 set by Cassie Carter in the 1993-94 season) against Liberty tied the third highest single-game total in school history. Reed’s performance might have been surprising to some, but for her father and coach — Kevin Reed — it really wasn’t because he’s had a front-row seat as her coach in AAU basketball.
“She’s grown up on the bench with me throughout her life so she’d been waiting for that first moment and that first opportunity to be on the high school stage where the lights are brighter and the media attention is there,” said Kevin Reed. “For an instant impact and to see her on the big stage [doing that] I truly was not surprised. Those first two games she set the tone, showing what type of player she was going to be.”
And based on her numbers in her first varsity season, it’s safe to say Lauren Reed is poised to be a record-setting player for the Warriors.
Her nine 3-pointers in the 38-point performance broke the Warriors’ single-game record of eight set by Wendy Legge in the 1995-96 season.
Reed said having so much AAU experience helped, but she admitted that she did have some butterflies in her stomach heading into the opener against Liberty — even though you’d never know that based on her performance.
“There were definitely nerves and I had never played in the high school environment before — I’d only watched,” said Reed, who earned Co-Northwestern District Player of the Year honors (with Millbrook junior Brenna Cook) and was a first-team All-Region II and second team VHSCA All-Group AA selection. “But my teammates were there and they comforted me and I just relaxed and went out there and played my game.”
A big part of Reed’s game is her shooting, knocking down 40 percent (151 of 376) of her shots from the field and a team-high 79 percent (118 of 148) from the free-throw line. And the 5-foot-8 freshman’s game is far from one-dimensional as she ranked second on her team with 3.4 assists, tied for third with 4.6 rebounds and third with 3.1 steals per game.
But where Reed really made her mark in the Warriors’ record book was with her ability to knock down the long-range jumpers. Her 64 3-pointers (64 of 183, 34 percent) shattered the team record of 46 set by Allison Boespflug in the 2011-12 season.
“She’s always shot the ball well and always taken pride in that,” Kevin Reed said. “For her to come out and stroke those threes and shoot over 50 percent from the 3-point line that game [against Liberty] was exciting.
“As a parent I’ve watched her have big games like that, but as a coach it has multiple meanings. In girls’ basketball 3-point shots are like slam dunks in boys. It motivates the crowd and the energy is high and to see her perform at that level was great. She’s always been a player that’s risen to the occasion and has always played big in big games.”
In the Warriors’ 64-49 win over Millbrook in the regular season tiebreaker game, Lauren Reed scored 17 of her game-high 26 points in the second half — going 10 of 12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Reed said the tiebreaker game stands out for him because Lauren needed to switch positions late in the game because teammates Erin Magalis and Jessica Hakel fouled out in the third quarter.
“The one thing I’ll always remember in the biggest game of all, winner-take-all and two players fouled out — our two guards — and Lauren coming over and saying, ‘Give me the ball,’” Kevin Reed said. “In the last 11 minutes of that game she scored 17 points and had three assists. She showed great leadership and she showed another dimension by playing point at that time. It was a great team win for us because of everybody that stepped up.”
Lauren Reed faced a box-and-one defense several times this year, and she said a lot of those games seemed more like “a cross country race” than a basketball game so she plans to work on her conditioning even more for next season.
“I’m definitely going to work on my strength so that when I get contact and I have players chasing me all over the place that it doesn’t really matter,” said Lauren Reed, who will play AAU basketball for PSPA — a national team based in Fairfax.
Kevin Reed said adding strength and stamina will only help her going forward, but he thinks that Lauren’s freshman season shows the importance of good shooting fundamentals.
“I feel like the one area where we need to improve on as we go forward is her strength,” he said. “But she’s always had the proper form and shooting mechanics. It shows you don’t have to be extremely strong — you just have to have the proper form and use your legs properly.”
While Reed plans to work on improving her game while playing for PSPA, the Warriors should only improve as they head into next year.
With a starting lineup of four sophomores — Hakel, Magalis, Heidi Brown and Dani Rizzari — and Lauren Reed, the Warriors should be a force in district play in the seasons to come.
The Warriors lost to Loudoun County 68-45 in the Region II, Division 4 semifinals, and Lauren Reed said the team’s goal is to take that next step in the postseason.
“States is always the goal,” Lauren Reed said. “We expect the same thing next year and we’re all coming back so we can only get better. We all have a year under our belt playing together and we still have two more years together [with the sophomore class] and more for us freshmen.”
With a young and talented team returning (all 10 varsity players were underclassmen), it’s a safe bet that it likely won’t take another 16 years to put more numbers on the Warriors’ gymnasium wall.
— Contact Robert Stocks at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @WinStarSports1