Prep girls' basketball: Reichle hopes Weber sneaks up on teams
Ogden • It hasn't taken Weber guard Erin Reichle long to announce that the Warriors are still one of Class 5A's dangerous girls' basketball teams.
A year after losing in the state title game, Weber has replaced a veteran roster that had seven seniors, which led to some speculation that the inexperienced Warriors were in for a down year.
Then Reichle went out and racked up 29 points, eight steals and six rebounds in the Warriors' season-opening blowout against Hunter. She followed that with a triple-double in a victory over Herriman 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Next was 27 points, seven boards and five steals in a win over Bear River.
Just like that, the Warriors started 3-0. Inexperienced or not, it's hard to disregard a team that's getting performances like that out of its star player.
"She's stepped up in every single way this year," Warriors coach Rick Stoeckl said. "No one works harder than she does, and she helps everybody on the team, from the freshmen up to the seniors in her class."
One of the keys to Reichle's early season dominance is a position switch. After spending most of last season at point guard, Reichle switched to shooting guard during the Warriors' playoff run. As it turned out, Reichle was adept at moving without the ball in her hands, coming off screens and finding open shots.
Reichle said she prefers playing point guard she loves to have the ball in her hands, fueled by her belief that good things will happen for the Warriors when she does but her willingness to do anything to better the team and high basketball IQ have made the position switch easy.
"We know the plays at every position, so it's not that big of a difference," said Reichle, a two-year caption who will play at Dixie State next year. "I'm not bringing up the ball, but it's the same flow."
Another factor in the eye-popping numbers Reichle has put up is the fact that the senior guard is the undisputed leader on the court. The Warriors had other veteran options, more girls to trust to take the shot in the game's pivotal moments last season, when Reichle averaged just more than 11 points per game.
As one of the few returning players who saw regular minutes, Reichle understood before the season that the responsibility would fall to her early in the season to make things happen on the court while the rest of the players became comfortable in their roles.
Reichle dedicated her offseason to becoming capable of carrying the team when it needed it. She became a better shooter, quicker off the dribble, stronger and faster.
"You always have to get better," Reichle said. "There's always something to improve on."
She also was motivated by what she knew was coming a lack of respect for the Warriors, who would not be viewed as a team likely to return to the late rounds of the playoffs.
"There's a little bit of that, just to show them up," Reichle said.
However, she is finding she enjoys the lack of expectations for Weber. There is no pressure, and the team can focus on winning. When it's all over, Reichle hopes the Warriors' nonbelievers will regret doubting them.
"Nobody is expecting us to do anything," Reichle said. "Honestly, I want to keep it that way. I don't want people to think big of us, and then we'll just hit them."