For two months Timber Creek Regional High School boys basketball player Dominique Reid sat and watched as the Chargers struggled to gain any traction in a difficult Olympic Conference. The 6-foot-8 forward/center knew he could change that if he was on the court with his teammates, but an offseason knee surgery didn’t allow that to be possible.
So he waited and waited.
“It was difficult,” Reid said. “There were many nights staying up and a lot of rehab. There was a lot of working out, but in the end, it feels great to be back.”
Reid returned less than two weeks ago, but his official arrival was stamped Tuesday night as he dominated both ends of the court in Timber Creek’s 60-35 win over Black Horse Pike Regional School District rival Highland in the opening round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 playoffs.
Reid scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Chargers' victory. He also threw down a series of thunderous dunks that brought a packed gymnasium to its feet.
“This is something I have been thinking about since I have been out,” said Reid. “My teammates have been working really, really hard, and I just wanted to come in and be on the same page with them. I didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry or anything like that. I just wanted them to play with the flow they have been playing with all season.”
The underdog Tartans stayed right with the Chargers early, exiting the first quarter with a 10-9 lead. The Chargers started controlling the flow of the game in the second quarter and took a 22-14 lead in the locker room. The game turned into a rout in the second half as Reid and senior guard George Sapp helped the Chargers go on continues fast breaks, which led to layups and dunks.
“(The playoffs are) another level,” Highland coach Crythen Langhorne said. “I thought we gave up too many easy baskets. They transitioned and transitioned, and it killed us. When we got back and set up in our zone, they struggled. I hope they grew this year and got some experience. They got to see what it’s like when the lights are on and it's playoff time. Hopefully we get better next year.”
The No. 4 Chargers received a high seed because of their power points, not their regular season win total. Timber Creek struggled for much of the season without Reid, finishing the regular season 11-11. However, things are different now that Reid is back. The Chargers have won four in a row and suddenly look like serious contenders in Group 3.
“We are capable of a lot of things because me and George have been playing together since the seventh grade or so,” Reid said. “The chemistry between me, George and Sameen (Swint) is outrageous.”
Timber Creek will host No. 5 Delsea on Thursday.
Langhorne, in his first year with the Tartans, said this season has brought with it many lessons about being a varsity basketball head coach. While he watched his players grow up in front of him, he also saw himself gaining valuable experience.
“I learned that coaching is the most difficult profession and I respect it tremendously, a lot more than I did before I came in,” said Langhorne. “It’s been a tough year with a lot of ups and downs, but I think I got in a lot of teaching. A couple of our kids really grew. I learned a lot as a coach and also grew myself.”
TRITON BOYS MOVE ON: Dylan Daniluk connected on four 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in No. 7 Triton’s 68-54 win over No. 10 Egg Harbor Township in South Jersey Group 4 action. Daniluk scored six of his points in the third quarter, helping the Mustangs dominate the frame, 22-5. Kris Baylor scored 16 points, while Hakeem Soltuni and Dave Budd added 12 and 11, respectively.
Triton will face No. 2 Lenape on Wednesday.
CREEK GIRLS ADVANCE: Amanda Riiff scored a game-high 22 points and added five steals to lead the No. 6 Chargers past No. 11 GCIT, 63-32. Brittany Martin added 15 points, four assists and three steals as the Chargers built a 32-14 halftime Advantage. Courtney Reese chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds.
HIGHLAND GIRLS OUT TOO: The Highland girls basketball team couldn’t
get out of the gates against No. 3 Kingsway and it cost them in a 58-29
first-round loss. The Dragons stormed out to a 17-2 first-quarter advantage and never looked back. Ayanna Williams led the Tartans with 11 points.