By Dennis Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENS CITY -- Freshman guard Lauren Reed sank a school record nine 3-pointers, among a game-high 38 points in her first varsity game to lead the Sherando to an 87-29 win over Liberty on Wednesday.
Reed, daughter of Sherando head coach Kevin Reed, was three points shy of the school scoring record. She was a remarkable 9-for-17 (52 percent) from beyond the arc. She also had six steals and five assists in her varsity debut.
With 2:25 remaining in the second quarter, Reed sank three consecutive 3-pointers as the Warriors poured on 26 points in the quarter, while holding Liberty to two and build a 53-11 halftime lead.
"It was a great way to start the year, [I] couldn't ask for a better way to start my freshman year and our year as a team," Lauren Reed said. "We've been working a lot [on causing turnovers] in practice, turning our defense into offense. Executing well is in our game plan, and we definitely executed.
"I understand we're young, but we've been playing together for about three or four years, in middle school."
Sherando has a combined nine freshmen and sophomores on its team.
The Warriors employed a stifling full-court press, and a half-court trapping zone in forcing Liberty into 49 turnovers, including 32 steals, largely accounting for the Eagles managing only 8-for-21 in field goals for the contest.
Sherando's spacing, passing, and defense looked like anything, but a squad with a short roster of 10 players. The Warriors starting five consists of four sophomores and a freshman.
"That's the kind and style of game we want to play," Warriors coach Kevin Reed said. "We're a little bit under-sized, we're quick, and we rotate pretty well. It's the kind of basketball we want our girls to play."
The Eagles were the 2012 state Group AA, Division 3 runner-up, and the 2011 Division 4 state champions, but graduated six seniors from last year's squad. They have only three returning players -- senior guard Dru Martin and two juniors forward Kiana Smith and guard Kaila Blackwell. Those three are joined by three other juniors, three sophomores, and three freshmen on the 12-player roster.
Sherando established its defensive dominance early, forcing Liberty into 13 first-quarter turnovers, including eight steals.
The Warriors scored 27 first-quarter points, including two 3-pointers by Lauren Reed, and one-each by Jessica Hakel and Heidi Brown, as Sherando sank 14 of 27 shots from beyond the arc on the evening.
In the fourth quarter, Sarah Panagos sank Liberty's only 3-pointer, with 6:48 remaining on the game clock.
The remainder of Liberty's offensive opportunities consisted of six trips to foul line, where the Eagles went 7-for-10.
Alaina Combs banked-in Sherando's final 3-pointer, with 1:40 remaining in the contest, as the Warriors closed out with a 0-for-6 effort at the charity stripe and an offensive rebound put back of one of the misses by Allison Combs.
Hakel supported the Warriors cause with 13 points and a game-high 10 steals and team-high six rebounds.
Junior forward Kiana Smith led the Eagles with 11 points.
"We've had two good scrimmages, we've got some kids that care about this program," Kevin Reed said. "We've got graduates that come back and help this program and our girls are prepared because of what everyone else is doing to give back."