Still, Reynolds, who as a freshman last season lacerated defenses with the utmost lethality, cuts a fairly modest figure upon first impression. She then proceeds to make you look silly for assuming, even for a millisecond, that she is unassuming.
“Things come so easy for her,” Wise Central coach Robin Dotson said. “She’s just a natural. “Everything comes naturally to her on the basketball floor.”
That it does. You can tell Reynolds has been playing the game since she was, according to her, 2 feet tall.
“My first word was ball,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds’ play evokes memories of LaShay Collier and Autumn Arney, sensational hardwood players who blossomed under Dotson at J.J. Kelly. The 5-foot-7 Reynolds has a chance to be every bit as good as they were. Perhaps even better if she continues to develop as she did last season.
“She could’ve played on the varsity team as a sixth grader,” said Dotson, who confirmed Reynolds already has a Division 1 collegiate offer on the table from East Carolina. “She’s a fantastic player. I don’t have to tell her too much.”
Apparently all Dotson needed to tell Reynolds was that she was his starting point guard. She did the rest, averaging 12.5 points, six assists, seven rebounds and four steals per contest in his first season with the Lady Warriors. That kind of yearly stat line is impressive for a senior; here, we are talking about a freshman — a freshman thrown into a talent-laden team that featured a host of prominent upperclassmen and was among the finest in Group A before her arrival.
Talk about making an impact.
By Game 15 of her varsity career, Reynolds was directing traffic while scoring a career-high 26 points in a head-turning 77-53 win at Gate City.
“I thought I would definitely help out the team, but I developed a lot faster than I thought I would,” Reynolds said. “The girls made me feel at home. They really helped me fit in.“This year, I’m more confident and we’re all motivated. I’m going to do everything I can to help us get a ring.”
You’ve been warned, Group A.
Dotson is ready for his point guard to step into a more aggressive role this season. He still wants her to pass, but the key this season, aside of course from leading from the 1 spot, is for her to shoot and shoot often.
A more selfish Reynolds, Dotson envisions, will result in a much more balanced Lady Warriors offense. Couple this new shoot-friendly Reynolds with leading scorer Hayley Wyrick, who returns for her senior season, and you have the makings of one of the most dynamic backcourt pairings in the state, much less the region.
“We want her to score more,” Dotson said of Reynolds. “She has that ability and she’s going to have to do that for us this season. We love that she’s always trying to get her teammates involved, but we think she can give us a real lift as a scoring option.”
Reynolds says she is up to the challenge. She’s also excited about building on the partnership she and Wyrick began to develop last season.
“Me and Hayley, we have a good bond,” said Reynolds, who spent the offseason playing for AAU outfit Knoxville Lady Panthers (a team with a host of local products, including Tennessee High guard Ashlee Mitchell). “We joke around a lot, but we are serious when it’s time to get down to business.
“The big thing is that we know each other really well now. We know where each other wants the ball. We’re going to be a lot smoother together.”
Scary thought. Last season ended in severe disappointment for the Lady Warriors, who were ranked inside the top five of the Group A rankings for much of the campaign. Central exited the postseason at the semifinal stage of the Region D, Division 2 tournament, thanks to a pair of foul shots by Virginia High’s Teonna Austin with .8 seconds left.
That 51-49 loss at Virginia High left a bitter taste in the mouths of Reynolds and her teammates. It’s time for some revenge.
“We’re definitely ready to erase that memory,” Reynolds said. “We’ve worked really hard and we have the passion to go far this season. We’re ready.”
With an older, wiser Reynolds running the show, the time for avengement definitely appears at hand.