Although only sophomores, and in their first year as starting point guards, North Thurston’s Catie Mets and Matt Reid have already defined what it means to be floor generals for the Rams. And they’ve shown that leadership can come at an early age in a high-pressure position.
While the boys and girls basketball teams have had their ups and downs this season, one of the consistent factors has been the play of Mets and Reid. They have led their respective teams, both of which are full of youth and talent.
North Thurston begins its final stretch of Class 3A Western Cascade Conference games today, taking on Timberline at home (girls) and on the road (boys) at 7 p.m. The head coaches – Alana Erickson for the girls and Tim Brown for the boys – acknowledged the growth of their point guards over the course of the season, including their billowing confidence.
It’s been a season of transition for Mets. Not a transition into a new position, however, because she’s quite familiar with it.
Last season as a freshman, she was the Rams’ starting shooting guard. After playing point guard her whole career in organized basketball, moving to shooting guard required her to adjust quickly.
The Rams already had first-team all-WCC player Britanie Lining running the point, which meant Mets would have to wait a year to take the reigns.
“A lot of people don’t see it, but it’s a whole different position,” Mets said. “It’s different responsibilities and a big transition.”
Mets still keeps in contact with Lining, now a redshirt freshman at Saint Martin’s University.
The two have exchanged text messages after games, and Mets relies on advice from her former teammate.
“It was big shoes to fill,” Mets said. “I still have two more years to fill them.”
Mets leads the team in scoring with 12 points per game and is dishing out three assists per game.
Her breakout game came against Aberdeen on Dec. 18, when she hit four 3-pointers on her way to a team-high 18 points. She’s had nine double-digit scoring efforts.
And of course there was the statement win over Yelm.
In what was the Rams’ biggest win of the season, they shocked the No. 6-ranked Tornados, 51-47, on Jan. 19. North Thurston stormed out to a 15-5 lead after the first quarter. At one stretch, the Rams had an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. Mets finished with a team-high 15 points in a victory she called “amazing.”
On a team with seven underclassmen, confidence has been one aspect of Mets’ game that has grown with each day.
“That’s her strength now,” Erickson said. “She’s a great floor leader and that’s what you need. She has the confidence in leading her team and holds her teammates accountable.”
The Rams are tied for third place with Timberline going into the second of the teams’ three meetings tonight.
Brown has proven he’s not hesitant to give the ball to his sophomore point guard when the game is on the line. Case in point was last Friday’s game against Yelm.
The ball was in Reid’s hands for the potential game-tying 3-pointer. His shot, however, took a few funny bounces, hit the top of the backboard, teetered on the front of the rim, and rolled off.
The result: A heartbreaking 57-54 road loss to the Tornados.
In 17 seasons at North Thurston, Brown has had his share of talented point guards. While their games have varied, they possessed similar qualities.
“He’s learning when to take his chances,” Brown said of Reid. “He’s really learned who to throw it to, on the run, or where he needs to put the ball.”
Reid leads the WCC in assists with 6.4 per game. He’s a solid scorer, too, averaging 11.3 points per game with 12 double-digit scoring games.
In the team’s latest two WCC games, against Capital and Timberline, Reid dished out a combined 18 assists and has cut down on his assist-to-turnover ratio.
Reid was a varsity swing player as a freshman, when he backed up senior point guard Tanner Nielson.
He didn’t play in every varsity game as a freshman, but he quickly learned the ropes by being in the same crowd as his older brother, Drew. His father, Mike, a longtime assistant coach at North Thurston, gives his son encouragement and feedback from the bench, which he says makes him think about things from a coach’s perspective.
“Mentally, I knew what to expect,” Reid said. “I was able to pick up on things. Still, I have a lot to learn as far as experience.”
Reid already has made a name for himself at North Thurston and has steadily improved on the defensive end.
With four games remaining, he’s taken 22 charges, which Brown said most likely would be a school record, if such statistics were commonly recorded.
Like the girls team, the boys team is loaded with youth. Oliver Nelson is the team’s only senior, and three of the five starters are sophomores – forward Ben Broeker and the backcourt of Reid and Landon Rushton, who leads the team in scoring.
Though the boys team is winless through five WCC games, those losses have come by an average of six points.
The two young point guards have overcome many challenges, but both Mets and Reid stressed their improved decision-making.
“I’ve learned to keep a steady head, whether it be turnovers, or shots not going in,” Reid said. “I’ve learned to deal with those things and take it as it comes.”
Said Mets: “I feel like I’ve grown a lot,” Mets said, “and still have a lot to learn.”
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473