Another high point for Antioch's Reiser
Having dropped plenty of points on opponents, pinpoint passes into the hands of shooters and losses on overmatched opponents, Ashley Reiser wasn't about to drop a tear as she reflected on four terrific varsity basketball seasons for Antioch.
Tears welled in the eyes of the sturdy Sequoits senior. But, after all, what was there for the playmaker to sniffle about?
Antioch had just given undefeated Marshall, an eight-time state champ, a scare in the Class 3A supersectional at Concordia University in River Forest.
"It was an incredible game," Reiser said Monday night after the Sequoits couldn't hold a late lead and lost 55-48, ending a 30-win season. "I'm so proud of my teammates. I'm at peace with the season, with the game. Looking back at my career at Antioch, it's been incredible. The people who have helped me through it -- my coaches, my teammates, my teachers, my friends, my parents, especially -- I couldn't be more thankful for them and their support throughout my career."
How's this for a high school career? Reiser accumulated 1,621 points, 870 assists, 434 steals and 195 3-pointers. A varsity starter since the first game of her freshman year, she led the Sequoits to 109 wins and a pair of Class 3A sectional championships.
For the third year in a row, Reiser is the captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area team, an honor she shared with her twin, Amy, two seasons ago. This season, Ashley put up averages of 15.6 points, 6.2 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 4.2 steals per game. While the Northern Lake County Conference co-champs went 30-4, they were 30-3 with her in the lineup, as she missed the Sequoits' season-opening overtime loss after being shaken up in a car accident earlier that day.
Reiser was named AP all-state honorable mention, as well, this week.
"She's got all the confidence in the world and that helps her," Antioch sophomore guard Piper Foote said. "She always thinks one step ahead, and that really helps all of us. She's a really great ballhandler and shooter, and she's so unselfish."
Antioch had lots of blowout wins, but in big games, Reiser never left the court, always playing 32 minutes. Against Marshall, facing girls with Division-I quickness, speed and athleticism, she broke down the Commandos' zone defense and got penetration. She finished with 17 points (four 3-pointers) and 7 assists. She blocked a shot and took a charge, too.
"And the way she ran the team early on, just her composure and taking care of the ball, (Marshall) had to come out of that zone and go man to man," Antioch coach Tim Borries said. "We made them adjust to us, instead of us adjusting to them."
Naturally, during one possession in a tight second half, the Reiser twins went to work like only they can. Amy stood near the elbow, slipped her defender and cut to the basket, where Ashley's pass found her for an open layup.
The twins made that play countless times during the course of their careers.
"That's our signature move, for sure," Ashley said with a laugh. "I didn't even see her down there. I just chucked the ball and she was there."
There is an attitude that Ashley plays with on the court. It helps explain how a 5-foot-4 girl can dominate against taller kids. It can be a double-edged sword, however, like when Reiser picked up a personal foul and then technical early on against Illiana Christian in the semifinals of Lisle's Cage Classic in late December.
The sequence gave her 3 fouls with less than two minutes gone in the game. She sat the rest of the half, eventually fouled out after playing less than 10 minutes and Antioch lost.
With Reiser leading the way, the Sequoits responded by winning their next 21 games.
"There are times when kids like (Ashley) can frustrate you as a coach," said Sequoits assistant coach Tim Bowen, who's had plenty of success coaching boys teams. "But that (edge) is what makes them special. That's what makes her special. She's got a lot of fire in her. She's done a really good job of being a good teammate and a good leader."
Bowen has a similar intensity, and his presence was good for Reiser and the Sequoits.
"He definitely put more of an edge into our program," Reiser said. "He made everything 50 times more intense."
The end of the season means the end of the Reiser era at Antioch and, likely, the end of Ashley and Amy's playing days together. While neither is committed to a college, they are not necessarily seeking to attend the same school.
"We've been playing together since second grade," Ashley said. "She brings out the best in me. I couldn't be more thankful to have her with me. Moving forward, we'll probably call each other after every game we play (in college). It's going to be different, but we're going to go on our separate paths. And it's going to be good."
For four years for Antioch and the Reiser twins, it was fantastic."