Reno Bighorns fall in Western Conference semifinals
The Reno Bighorns fell 126-109 to the South Say Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals Tuesday night at the Reno Events Center. With the loss, Reno was eliminated from the postseason after dropping a one-game elimination series.
JaKarr Sampson led the Bighorns with 25 points and seven rebounds while Jack Cooley recorded his 22nd double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Marcus Williams had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Thomas Bryant paced the Lakers with 33 points and five rebounds while Gary Peyton II had 30 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lakers jumped out to an early 11-2 lead to open the frame. The Bighorns would gain momentum to edge South Bay 20-24 at the 3:31 mark. The Lakers held Reno to four points, entering the second frame with a nine-point lead.
South Bay opened their lead up to 11 points after a layup from Michael Holyfield to start the second quarter. The Lakers kept the Bighorns at distance until a layup from Sampson triggered a 10-0 run for the Bighorns. Reno held a two-point lead over the Lakers at the midway point. After four points from Cooley in under a minute, Reno had a seven-point lead. The Lakers kept the Bighorns scoreless remainder of play, entering the locker room with a four-point lead.
The even play continued through the second quarter as Josh Hagins paced Reno with seven points in the frame. South Bay outscored Reno 32-25 in the quarter, having an 11-point lead heading into the final frame.
Lakers dominated coming out of the break, leading by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. Reno would never regain the advantage in the second half, falling 123-109.
The Bighorns wrapped up their ninth season in Reno with a 29-21 (.580) regular-season record, earning their fifth playoff appearance. Reno helped develop Sacramento Kings assignment players Skal Labissiere, Justin Jackson, Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis, Bruno Caboclo over the course of the season.