By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Charrise Reece was a Biola University basketball great in leading the Eagles deep into the NAIA women’s tournament this year, and along the way she set standards few can match.
The point guard out of Montgomery High is the only Biola player to reach 1,000 points, 500 assists and 300 steals for a career.
That she reached those milestones as the Eagles soared to the final eight of the national championships made her senior season even more memorable.
“We went a long way. I’m just blessed and happy that I can go to school and play the sport I love,” Reece said.
A four-year starter, Reece was confident and comfortable helping lead a young Biola team back from an uneven early season to make the school’s deepest run ever in the national championships.
Consider the other marks of success:
Reece was a Golden State Athletic Conference first-team selection, leading the league in steals and finishing near the top in assists, setting a Biola career record in that category.
Reece’s senior class won the most games of any Biola women’s basketball team over a four-year period.
The Eagles for the first time reached 20 victories in four consecutive seasons.
Biola made a program-best fourth consecutive trip to the NAIA national tournament, upsetting a pair of top-10 teams to reach the great eight.
Over the three tournament games in Frankfort, Ky., Reece had 45 points, 11 assists and six steals.
“I’m happy about our season. We felt good about what was to come,” Reece said.
The achievements were hard-earned. Working through some early-season rough patches, Biola found its stride in time to finish strong, winning 11 of its final 14 games.
“We were a young team, so it took us some time to gel. Then we played our best,” Reece said.
A good sign for the tournament run was Reece’s senior-night game. She scored a career-high 27 points to help lead Biola back into the NAIA tournament.
On the season, Reece scored nine points a game and averaged more than four rebounds and four assists per contest. Always strong on drives to the basket, she developed into a sharpshooter, second on the Eagles in both free-throw and 3-point accuracy.
“I just tried to lead by action. It’s what my coach expects of me,” Reece said.
Playing the game right, Reece also appreciates what basketball ultimately provided — a college education at the university in La Mirada.
A sociology major with a concentration in criminal justice, Reece will graduate in May and wants to work with at-risk youths. She has interned with the Los Angeles County probation department, including working at Bellflower High School.
Coaching basketball is another goal.
“Basketball taught me a lot of lessons on and off the court,” Reece said. “It’s forever been a part of my life.”
Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit can be reached at 521-5470 or email@example.com.