Athlete of the Week: Reid hitting her stride on the court for Rams

Christyan Reid

STRASBURG – It wasn’t that Christyan Reid felt overwhelmed or uncomfortable playing as a freshman on Strasburg High School’s varsity girls basketball team at the beginning of the season. She grew accustomed to competing against older players as a member of the Winchester Rising Stars AAU program for the last two-plus years. But Reid still needed some time to adjust.

The Rams are now seven games into their 2016-17 season, and it appears that Reid, who is averaging 17 points per contest over the last three, has started to settle in.

“I think I definitely had more confidence the past couple games than I had in the beginning games,” Reid, a 6-foot-2 forward, said before practice Tuesday evening. “Definitely kind of stepped up more and, I don’t know, like I just did way better, had more confidence in myself.”

The turning point for Reid, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for Dec. 12-18, came in Strasburg’s 51-47 overtime win at home over Page County on Dec. 13 – specifically, the fourth period of that victory. It was then that Panthers senior forward Laney Corbin fouled out with about five minutes remaining, opening things up inside for Reid and fellow 6-2 teammate Daniella Henry. The duo responded by powering a 12-0 run that rallied the Rams from an 11-point deficit to force the overtime period.

Reid finished the night with 12 points and was 8-for-8 from the free throw line, a performance that would set the tone for the freshman over the next two games.

“I think with her, the beginning of the season, she was running a little bit more complex offenses than what she was used to at the JV level,” Rams head coach Darin Jenkins said, “doing some different stuff there and I think she was just trying to think too much instead of just playing. I think the light finally come on for her in the second half of the Page County game.”

Three nights later Reid broke out for 22 points, a career high, as Strasburg rolled to a 46-26 win over Rappahannock County, the third straight win for the Rams after they started the season 0-3.

It’s hardly a coincidence that Reid’s sudden emergence as Strasburg’s leading scorer aligned with the Rams’ first victories of the new season. Jenkins said that’s the role the freshman will have to fill in order for Strasburg to be successful, at least until the Rams can develop a perimeter game to help stretch opposing defenses.

“Our outside game hasn’t been as effective as we want it to be yet, and I think the more we can get Daniella and Christyan the ball, you know, (get) our big girls involved, and they can score around the basket, I think that’s gonna help us with our perimeter shooting,” Jenkins said. “So yeah, for now I think Christyan’s gotta lead the way. She’s got a lot of confidence right now and we’ve just gotta lean on her and ride it out.”

Reid’s size, she said, certainly presents as a distinct advantage for the freshman, who is averaging 10.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game. Not many opposing teams on Strasburg’s schedule can match her height and length, much less put two 6-foot-2 players on the court when Reid and Henry are operating out of the post at the same time.

One of the few teams that can, William Monroe, ran away from the Rams on Monday night in a 60-38 victory. But the Dragons also boast the nation’s top-ranked sophomore in Samantha Brunelle, a fellow 6-foot-2 forward who has drawn the interest of every major women’s college basketball team in the country.

Reid struggled to score early against Brunelle in the teeth of William Monroe’s 3-2 zone. The Strasburg freshman missed her first five shots in the first period, including a couple of rushed attempts on clean looks under the basket. But Reid did pull down five rebounds in the opening frame (eight in the game) and ended up scoring 17 points, including 14 in the second half.

“I was definitely – not scared – but yeah I was intimidated by her because everybody was talking about the game all day long and how I’m like the same height as her and stuff,” Reid said of the game against William Monroe, which was attended by University of Maryland women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese.

Reid’s 22-point effort against Rappahannock County, she said, has opened a drive in her to surpass that total again this season. She will get her next shot at it on Friday when the Rams host Moorefield (West Virginia) as they seek to get back to .500 heading into the holiday break.

“I think all of us need to get a little bit more confidence,” Reid said, “but I think that my role is probably to keep scoring and do like I’ve been doing like the past three games. Definitely just keep scoring how I’ve been and playing offense and defense how I’ve been playing.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com.