Reynolds girls wrap up season on high note

Reynolds girls wrap up season on high note
March 19
00:00 2015
(Above: Photos by Craig T. Greenlee- Point guard Tierra Wilson had a break-out season as a sophomore.)

Reynolds was short-circuited in its efforts to win a state championship in girls’ basketball. Even so, it was a special time that people will remember for all the right reasons.

The school record books will note that when it comes to the 2014-15 season, no Reynolds girls’ team has ever done it better. The Lady Demons won 27 games in a row before bowing out to Charlotte Myers Park in the semifinals of the Class 4-A West Regional earlier this month.

Myers Park topped Southeast Raleigh in the state final to repeat as state champions.

Reynolds has gone through a transformation under second-year Coach Johnathan Gainey. With the exception of one game, the Lady Demons bedazzled the opposition with their speed, quickness and athleticism. Gainey posted a 16-11 mark in his first season.

Keyera Eaton, Aloni McFarland, Dominique Adams, Hannah Semke and Candice Hodge provided the senior leadership necessary for RJR to maximize the talent on its roster.

“We were competitive and we continued to get better with each game,” said Gainey. “When that happens you have a chance to be pretty good. Once they started to play together and believe in themselves, they realized that the sky was the limit.

The seniors are gone, but they paved the way and left their mark. Because of those seniors, the players coming back understand what it takes to compete and win at the highest level. Now it’s their turn to leave their mark.”

RJR has three returnees who figure to play prominent roles for next season. All three gained valuable game experience as underclassmen.

Point guard Tierra Wilson, who averaged 16.5 points and 5.1 assists, blossomed as a bona fide game-changer. Freshman combo guard Amari Cuthbertson (9.6 points) provided instant offense coming off the bench and swing player Jayme Byers emerged as a solid contributor at both ends of the floor.

In scouting reports, Wilson, a sophomore, draws as much attention as a polished ball-handler who has the total package. Wilson is crafty with the ball in her hands, and she has the speed to get to the rim. If the lane gets crowded, she’s developed a dependable pull-up jumper and she’s lethal from 3-point range.

“When I scouted Reynolds during the state playoffs, she was the one player who really had me worried,” said Coach Barbara Nelson of Charlotte Myers Park. “She’s such a good shooter that you can’t afford to give her a step. That’s why we put our most athletic player (Aliyah Mazyck) on her. Aliyah’s length forced her to take shots from further out than usual.”

Reynolds, who finished the season at 27-1, was overmatched against Myers Park in the playoffs, especially on the front line. The Lady Demons made a game of it early and the first quarter ended in a 10-10 tie. After that, RJR went into an offensive tailspin and the end result was a 64-36 blow-out defeat.

“One game didn’t define our season,” said Gainey. “This team accomplished a lot and wrote a new chapter in the history of the school. The key now is to establish consistency because the bar has been set very high.

“We’re going back to work. It’s important that everybody continues to buy in to what we’re doing, to have that willingness to fill their roles. This is about establishing a legacy and establishing the right habits. When you outwork your opponents, you will be successful.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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