Reese made shot after shot from outside the arc in the 3-point shooting contest held during halftime at the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic held on Sunday, March 18.
The 9-for-15 showing by Reese enabled her to take top top honors in the contest. Better yet, Reese and the North Team, which featured eight players from the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference, prevailed 110-105 over the South in the game held at Rider University.
"Being in the 3-point contest was nice but I was a little nervous," said Reese, who will take her talents to Manhattan College in the fall. "I had never shot balls off a rack before. Once you get into shooting, though, your form stays true."
Amanda Berntsen of Chatham and Alexis Breheny of Pope John tied for second behind Reese in the 3-point event with eight apiece. Players were give 45 seconds to sink as many 3-pointers as possible.
Reese, a four-year starter for the Lakers, and the seven other Morris and Sussex County players accounted for 41 of the North's points. Berntsen, playing just down the road from Princeton, her college choice, had 14 points, eight in the first half.
Sammy Lapszynski of Jefferson was next with eight points. Also taking part in the all-star game were Morristown-Beard's Tatiana Johnson, Pequannock's Sam Tabakman, West Morris' Shayna Ericksen and Whippany Park's Olivia Dudley. Brittney Sykes of University paced the North with 17 points and was named MVP.
Whippany Park coach Tom Wilson, who has a career record of 510-245, served as one of the North's assistant coaches to Nick DeBari of Rutherford.
"I know a lot of the girls on the team through AAU," Reese said. "Some of them I didn't know personally but got to know them when we had practices. It was a lot of fun to play with and against such good players. When I was a little kid, I never imagined I'd be here."
Lapszynski, a 6-foot-3 forward, was acquainted with some of the girls from AAU. She had her own little cheering section which included her friend from Kittatinny, Kelsey Koch.
"You get a good taste of what college will be like by playing here," Lapszynski said. "This was an honor. It was awesome."
What impressed the Niagara-bound Lapszynski most were the outside shots the big girls took.
The game was hard-fought. Each side had several runs. The North led 55-51 at the break.
Tabakman converted 3-of-4 free throws in a span of 15 seconds in the second half to boost the North's advantage to 11 points, 81-70.
Berntsen helped the North fend off the South late in the game, netting a 3-pointer for 99-94 with 3:05 remaining.
Hamilton West's Alexis Johnson paced the South with 23 points.
Wilson greatly enjoyed being a part of the All-Star Classic. He'll be the head coach in 2013.
"I'm so fortunate to coach this year," Wilson said. "There were so many Morris kids and deservedly so. The girls got to demonstrate their skills on the big court."
Coaching, he said, was not that difficult with the abundance of big-time scorers on the roster.
"We worked on transition offense and transition defense," Wilson said. "There were no set plays, no posting up. We just tried to divide the girls into even groups of five."