NAMPA – What does Castleford guard Haddee Reynolds do after scoring 30 points in her final high school basketball game?
“I don’t know,” she said. “Probably go watch the rest of the state games.”
That passion for the game and that dedication to her craft helped Reynolds score 30 points in the Wolves’ 59-45 victory over district foe Carey in the 1A Division-II consolation championship Saturday morning at Nampa High School.
“It’s not the trophy we set out for, but there are only three teams who end their year with a win, and we were one of them,” said Castleford head coach Gary Reynolds. “We had that tough loss the first day, we battled yesterday, and we finished it off today. It was a great win.”
“This was really big,” said Castleford junior Savanah Nunes. “We were hoping to get to the championship game, but we’re very happy with this.”
It was Carey who got off to the hot start as Jaicee Parke buried a 3-pointer in the opening seconds. The Panthers held a 5-0 lead before Castleford was able to get its footing.
But once Nunes hit a jumper, the Wolves began to roll.
Castleford was up 15-8 after the first quarter.
The second period is when Haddee Reynolds really got going. Generously listed at 5-foot-4, she ran up and down the floor with reckless abandon, unafraid to challenge even the tallest Panther on the floor. She recorded 13 points by halftime.
“Savanah had a great game today,” Gary Reynolds said. “That was great. Haddee was ready to play. She is capable of what she did today. She may not be that tall, but she makes up for it in heart.”
Shantell Chavez helped Carey close the gap some before the break, but the Wolves entered the locker room with a 30-22 lead.
Carey, a team that won just five games in the regular season, showed the heart, mettle and chemistry that good teams develop as the year progresses. Down by eight at the break, the Panthers took the floor in the third quarter refusing to accept defeat.
“We had a tough preseason schedule,” said Carey head coach Merrilee Sears. “I’m not big on records; I’m big on kids getting better. That’s what we did.
“We wanted to compete in the second half. We are a young team and that was a good sign.”
Chavez hit a basket, Lindsey Morey put one home, and Carey cut the Wolves’ lead to two. Urged on by Sears, the Panthers were ever so close to tying the game. That’s when Reynolds stepped in.
Carey had no answer for the Castleford senior. She had 21 points at the end of the third period, and her squad held a 45-30 lead.
“Coach told us to play our game and do what we do,” Haddee Reynolds said. “It kind of made me mad because I didn’t want them to come back on us.”
“We had to get our fire back,” Nunes said. “We kept driving the ball inside and getting our shots.”
It was much of the same in the fourth, and the morning ended with happy Wolves dancing on the floor in celebration.
“A lot of people doubted us this season,” Haddee Reynolds said. “Everyone said you can’t win without a player over 5-foot-8. We proved that wrong.”
“Good for Haddee and Castleford,” Sears said. “She is a tremendous player. I hope my girls saw that senior leadership and that they learn from it.”
The young Panthers got 11 points from junior Rylee Smith, eight from sophomore Kodi Green and seven from sophomore Athana Versis. Carey bits farewell to its three seniors, and are looking forward to next season.
In addition to Reynolds’ 30 points for Castleford, Nunes notched 13 and Elly Machado had nine.
“It’s my last game and I had to put it all on the floor,” Haddee Reynolds said. “It’s been a great four years. Going out with a bang helped make this season that much better.”
“I started coaching these girls in fifth and sixth grade,” said Gary Reynolds. “I went up the ranks with them, and we are excited by what we have done. This is only the second time in 30 years Castleford has been to state, and it’s the second time we’re going home with a trophy.”
Castleford 59, Carey 45
Castleford 15 15 15 14 -59
Carey 8 14 8 15 -45
Reynolds 30, Nunes 13, Drinkall 3, Reynolds 30, Machado 9, Rivera 2, March 2. Totals 22 11-17 59.
Smith 11, Morey 4, Chavez 5, Smith 11, Versis 7, Parke 8, Green 8, Black 2. Totals 18 4-7 45.